From the Daily Standard:
More manpower is needed at the Mercer County Soil and Water Conservation District office to handle a heavier workload due to farm conservation efforts in the Grand Lake Watershed.
SWCD board members OK’d personnel changes during a meeting Wednesday.
The board passed a motion to move part-time technician Charles Heckler to full time and to restore district administrator/education specialist Nikki Hawk and administrative assistant Karen Balster to full-time status. Hawk and Balster had their hours cut previously due to budget shortfalls; Heckler had been part-time.
The SWCD also plans to hire two full-time nutrient management technicians to start in November. In addition, two staff members from USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and a state environmental specialist are to come on board in November, Hawk said.
Hawk said the SWCD office is experiencing some growing pains as more staff continue to come. Eight desks have been added to the SWCD office and five to the Mercer County Farm Service Agency office next door.
"We will be going from a staff of eight in this office to 22 between our state and federal partners," Hawk said.
Roughly $4.5 million from various state and federal programs have been allocated to the area in the last year to pay farmers to install practices that stem the flow of nutrients feeding Grand Lake’s toxic blue-green algae. An army of state and federal employees have been amassed in the watershed to get the funds spent and practices put in place.