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Board Meeting

3:00 pm

August 15, 2023 Meeting Agenda 

Highlands Soil and Water Conservation District

4505 George Blvd.

Sebring, FL 33875-5837

Board of Supervisors

Board Meeting Agenda  

Tuesday, August 15, 2023 - 3:00 p.m. 

HSWCD Conference Room- Bert Harris Agriculture Center


I. Call To Order, Welcome & Introductions – Chairman Causey

II. Approval of Agenda – Chairman Causey

III. Approval of Meeting Minutes

a. Board of Supervisors Meeting Minutes – July 18, 2023

Special Presentation

USDA-NRCS Wetland Reserve Easement Program, Crenel Francis, WRE – Easements Coordinator

IV. Financial Activity

a. Overview & Approval of Financial Reports-  July 2023 – S. Bishop   

V. Agency Partner Updates

a. FDACS – S. Bishop & K. Nickerson

b. MIL – S. Bishop

c.  NRCS Report – C. Torres

d. HCBCC - Scott Kirouac

VI. Old Business

a. Strategic Work Plan Workshop – Sept. 19 – S. Bishop

VII. New Business  

a. Warner University Scholarship – S. Bishop

b. Ag Venture Sponsorship Level – S. Bishop

VIII. Executive Director’s Report

IX. Citizens Not on the Agenda

X. Supervisor Comments

Next Board Meeting:

Tuesday, September 19, 2022 – 1:00 p.m ** Note Time Change


Citizens Not on the Agenda requesting to speak will be limited to 3 minutes unless additional time is allotted by the Chairman.  The Chairman reserves the right to remove anyone from the meeting who is unruly or displays disruptive behavior.


August 15, 2023 Minutes 

Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District - Board of Supervisors

Meeting Minutes

Meeting Date:  08/15/2023

Meeting Location:   HSWCD Conf. Room – Bert Harris Center

FINAL – Approved 9/19/2023

Recorded by:  Susie Bishop

Meeting Scheduled Start: 3:00 P.M.   Call to Order: @ 3:03 P.M


Public Meeting Announcement Read by Chairman


Dr. John Causey, Chairman, HSWCD

Steve Smith, Vice-Chairman, HSCWD

Doug Deen, Secretary/Treasurer, HSWCD

Sara Sebring, Supervisor, HSWCD

T.J. Wohl, Supervisor, HSWCD

Susie Bishop, Executive Director, HSWCD

Kayla Nickerson, BMP Technician, HSWCD

Lauren Ahrens, BMP Technician, HSWCD

William Adams, Environmental Specialist 1, FDACS-OAWP

Carlos Torres, District Conservationist, USDA-NRCS

Crenel Francis, WRE-Easement Spec., USDA-NRCS

Marcus Shorter, Asst. State Conserva., USDA-NRCS

I.Approval of Agenda – Motion to approve agenda as presented (Smith/Wohl). Unanimous Approval.

II. Approval of Meeting Minutes – July 18,  2023 - Motion made to approve the minutes as presented (Deen/Smith).  Unanimous Approval.

Special Presentation: USDA-NRCS Assistant State Conservationist Marcus Shorter & WRE Easement Program Specialist Crenel Francis presented Easement Programs available to landowners in Florida.   ALE-Ag Land Easements, WRE-Wetland Reserve Easements and GSS-Grasslands of Specific significance.  NRCS is seeking properties in Florida to purchase Easements via these programs with considerable funding available.    A Real Estate Acquisition Training with targeted participation of Real Estate Agents is being    organized for late November or early December to be held in Sebring.

III. Financial Activity

a. Overview & Approval of Financial Reports- June 2023: Review of bank statements & financial reports with detailed discussion regarding the Budget to Actual Report. Motion to approve the financial reports as presented (Sebring/Deed). Unanimous Approval. 

IV. Agency Partner Updates 

a. FDACS – K. Nickerson & Bishop provided updates on field staff work. HSWCD staff is ahead on their IV Completion List.  Applications are being sought for Cost Share projects. No Action.

b. MIL – The MIL Team is ahead of schedule for completed evaluations.  Bishop reported many hours have been spent working on the revisions of the Scope of Work, no final presented to date.  The issues with the Project Manager at FDACS continues to be a challenge, but Bishop has been working with other MIL Staff and FDACS-OAWP leadership to address all the concerns. No Action.

c. NRCS – C. Torres reported 2024 applications are being accepted.   For 2023 Year there are 6-7 Contracts for 2023 CSP and 12 contracts for EQIP.   Also, there will be emergency funds available for use by farms, governments, etc.  

d. HCBCC –Bishop reported on behalf of Commissioner Kirouac regarding the Budget,    Mobile Home Parks Zoning/Ordinance and IMWID. No Action

V. Old Business

a. Strategic Work Plan -   Bishop distributed the current Short Term & Long Range Work Plans asking for input for the upcoming workshop.    No Action.

VII. New Business

a. Warner University Scholarship – Bishop presented an ask from the University for a Scholarship/s in the Ag. Degree Programs.   By Board consensus, Bishop will request historical information of previously awarded scholarships. Tabled until Sept. 19, 2024...    

b. Ag-Venture Sponsorship Level – Bishop explained plans for a part time Director Position for Ag Venture to be created and the goal to secure 2 year commitment sponsorships to increase the overall funds/budget.   Per discussion, motion made to contribute $5,000.00 for 2024 & 2025, above the annual program donation of $2,000.00 (Smith/Deen).  Unanimous Approval.

 VI. Executive Director’s Report -  Items presented:        

· The first payment for the Stolen Saddle Ranch project should be made this week.  

· AFCD Mid-Year Annual Meeting in Gainesville Sept. 26 & 27.  Bishop will attend part of the meeting.

· Community Garden work day with inmates will be Sept. 6 and all plots are secured by Gardeners.

· Having met with D. Ramba in Tallahassee, there are rumblings about potential SWCD Legislation...  Bishop is working on ideas to be proactive if Legislation is presented.   

· Commissioner has experienced negative experiences with Hillsborough and Bradford SWCDs.   

IX. Citizens Not on the Agenda – None

X. Supervisor Comments -   

Smith - None

Deen - None  

Sebring – None

Wohl – None

Causey - None


Meeting Adjourned at 4:56 p.m.