CLEARFIELD — The Clearfield County Conservation District voted unanimously to advertise for a new Chesapeake Bay technician at its meeting.
Agricultural Technician/Chesapeake Bay technician Bob Edwards is due to retire June 30, and the conservation district is hoping to have his replacement hired in early June so Edwards can train the new employee.
District Manager Susan Reed said Thursday the state gave approval for the conservation district to replace Edwards and the state would fund the position at 75 percent.
However, Reed said some counties are choosing not to hire a new bay technician because the new employee could be required to follow the new Chesapeake Bay requirements.
Reed said York and Luzerne counties have already voted against having a bay technician for this reason.
But Reed said without the funding from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the conservation district wouldn’t have the funds to provide support services to the agricultural community.
“Clearly, we cannot afford an agricultural person in this district if we don’t have a Chesapeake Bay contract,” Reed said.
Edwards provides services to local farmers such as chlorophyll testing to determine the amount fertilizer/manure needs to be applied to cornfields, and assisting farmers in other aspects of nutrient management, as well as applying for agricultural grants.
He also oversees the use of the conservation district’s no-till drill, which it rents to farmers, and assists local farmers in other matters.
Under the proposed regulations, the DEP would use its personnel to enforce the Chesapeake Bay regulations in those counties who do not have their own bay specialists, according to conservation district vice-chair Director Mike Kennis.
“We could have someone coming up from Harrisburg or somewhere else,” Kennis said.
See Conservation, Page A7
Edwards agreed and said the federal EPA is pushing the new Chesapeake Bay regulations and if the local conservation districts don’t do it, the DEP would be required to send its people in and if the DEP doesn’t, the EPA said it would send in its own personnel to enforce the regulations.
Edwards said many of the rules have been in place for 35 years and most farmers in the county are already in compliance. He said there are only a few with some minor issues.
“Most everyone is doing everything right anyway,” Edwards said.
The new hire would be required to have a four-year degree and Reed said the conservation district is going to advertise the position in the local newspapers as well as with universities.
Chairman Denny Norris and Director Joe Kendrick were absent.