Farmland Protection with Conservation Easements
 
 

Our History

The idea for a Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) area in northeast Indiana surfaced in 1992 when a local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) identified some natural resource needs in their county that could best be addressed through a multi-county effort. In contacting surrounding counties, similar needs were confirmed. The previous successes of six established RC&Ds in Indiana led the group to consider the formation of an RC&D in our area of the state.

A group of citizens from DeKalb, Elkhart, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben and Whitley Counties got together for their first regional meeting in December 1993. The group decided to elect interim officers and establish an RC&D to address natural resource needs in their six county area in early 1994. Dean DeVoe, representing Elkhart County Extension Board, was the first President. The name of Wood-Land-Lakes RC&D was chosen for the 3 priorities of natural resource concerns. In September 1994, the Council submitted its Application for official designation by the US Department of Agriculture. County Commissioners, Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service Boards, and Soil and Water Conservation Districts of all 6 counties signed as sponsors.

The Council continued to meet monthly throughout the authorization process and formed resource (education, land, water, forestry) committees. Seminars and workshops were held on dry hydrants, grant writing, leadership development, tree planting and pruning, and wading through wetland regulations. Quarterly newsletters were developed and distributed and an EPA grant was approved for local Soil & Water District (under the umbrella of the regional RC&D). Displays and exhibits were set up at local farm shows, field days, wetland fairs, and lake associations. A variety of brochures were developed on topics including RC&Ds, dry hydrants, and tree plantings.

Wood-Land-Lakes' 501(c)(3) nonprofit application was approved by the Internal Revenue Service in 1995. Yet another milestone was reached when it received approval and authorization for federal funding from USDA Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman in October 1996.  However, in 2011, federal funding was revoked for all RC&D's nation-wide.

The Council consists of representatives from each of the county commissioners, land committee, and at-large members. Amended bylaws allow the Council to fill vacant Sponsor representative positions. The Council meets four times a year on the 3rd Thursday in the months of February, May, August, and October.

It is our belief that better and more far-reaching solutions can be achieved with cooperation and coordination. In 2001 another goal, Rural Community Development, gained support for inclusion in the Long Range Area Plan. Wood-Land-Lakes, the name of the RC&D, is a constant reminder of the challenges that led to its formation.

In 2008, we worked on our next long range area plan.  This plan will help guide the Council for the next seven years.  The plan shows the Council's Mission, Vision, Background, and Council Structure, as well as an overview of the area.  This overview includes geographic, natural resource, agriculture, demographic, and socioeconomic information and graphs.

The Council's goals, objectives, and strategies revolve around land conservation, water management, community development, and land management.  Wood-Land-Lakes RC&D projects are focused in these four main areas.

Please contact us if you are interested in receiving an agenda or minutes of upcoming or past meetings.

 

 

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Wood-Land-Lakes RC&D    155 Lane 101 West Otter Lake,  Angola, IN 46703    (260) 665-7723     office@wood-land-lakes.org