Graphic image that shows a carrot, camas plan, and water in a circle with text in the middle that reads "united in conservation"

Support local funding for Thurston Conservation District

To achieve local goals like retaining open spaces, preserving agriculture, and managing impacts of growth, people in every corner of Thurston County need access to conservation services.

  • Over 79% of Thurston County is privately owned, and our population is approaching 300,000 — we can’t expect healthy natural resources and farmland without informed public involvement in conservation.

Thurston Conservation District (TCD) is the accessible hub of natural resource and agricultural expertise for people in our county.  

  • For over 75 years, our local team has connected people to free and low-cost services that help them practice conservation where they are — whether on a farm or in a neighborhood.

Our proposed system of rates and charges public funding is the linchpin for Thurston CD to deliver conservation services at a county-wide scale, and we need your support to see that continue!

How to Get Involved
Frequently Asked Questions
Ariel drone photo of the Skookumchuck River, it's riparian area and adjacent pastures.

Rates and Charges for TCD benefits everyone, regardless of land ownership or direct involvement in conservation projects.

Photo of a new planting in a field as the sun rises and frost is on the ground.

“These improvements will help the community by providing cleaner water throughout the watershed and ideal environmental conditions for protected open spaces that surround our small community. I am beyond thrilled that TCD can help so many landowners throughout Thurston County. They are an invaluable asset to our county and resources they can bring to all of us.” – Voluntary Stewardship Program Participant

Through the work of the Thurston CD, we are creating stewards, knowledge and strategies around conservation, which benefit the greater good.” – 2023 TCD Stakeholder Survey Participant

Group of workshop attendees in a pasture listen to the instructor while a group of cows watch.
Yelm community garden - showing raised bed garden beds and a tool shed

“By supporting conservation efforts throughout the County, from rural to urban, TCD helps protect water and builds habitat, enables more sustainable agriculture, and enhances the capacity of partner organizations to also maximize their effectiveness in shared conservation goals.”  – 2023 TCD Stakeholder Survey Participant

“The CD is for all age groups — families, students, educators, volunteers, career based; a hub of resources that is not just one dimensional.”  (2023 Thurston CD Stakeholder Survey Participant)

A group of elementary students work together at an outdoor picnic table to do a water quality test.

How you can get involved

Your voice matters! Here’s how to participate in the conversation about Thurston CD rates and charges:

  • Share your written public comment by Friday, May 24th at 4:30pm
    Thurston CD is governed by a five-member board of elected and appointed representatives from our community. Before the rates and charges proposal heads to County Commissioners for a decision, it must be adopted by the Thurston CD Board. The vote on whether to adopt the rates and charges proposal will take place at their business meeting on June 25 at 6:00 PM at the TCD office and on Zoom. Find out more about attending a meeting here.  
    Written public comment received by 4:30pm on May 24th will also be shared with our Board and should either be mailed to the TCD office (582 Tilley Ct SE, Suite 152, Tumwater WA, 98501) or emailed to 
  • Attend the Public Hearing on May 22nd
    TCD’s Board of Supervisors will hold a Public Hearing to accept and consider public comment on the proposed ordinance to pursue rates and charges for 2025-2034. The hearing will be open to the public and an opportunity to share your comments, ask questions, and get to know TCD.
    Date: May 22, 2024
    Time: 6 – 8 PM
    Location: Thurston Conservation District, 582 Tilley Ct SE, Suite 152 Tumwater, WA 98501
  • Contact Your County Commissioner
    The five-member Thurston County Board of Commissioners will vote on the Thurston CD rates and charges proposal on in summer/fall 2024. Each Commissioner represents one of five county district — use this map of Thurston County Commissioner Districts to find yours.
    Visit the Thurston County Board of County Commissioners website and click on the Commissioner representing your district. You’ll find contact information for each Commissioner on their profile page. Check back here for dates and details on how to share your public comment with the County Commissioners.
TCD staffer, Kiana Sinner, points into the distance as she helps plan out a hedgerow project.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are rates and charges?

“Rates and charges” refer to county-approved fees that local residents pay to cover public services in the community.

For example, county residents pay water and sewer management fees that are based on a county-approved system of rates and charges to cover the cost of those services.

How much will it cost me as a county resident?

If you live in the conservation district boundaries, you will annually pay $5 per parcel + $0.10 per acre. This will automatically show up on your property tax statement.

Why does TCD need public funding?

Conservation districts are about public service, not private profit. As mission-driven public entities, our budgets are tied to public funding and project-specific grants, and we can’t pursue commercial activities that aren’t directly related to our mission.

Why can’t TCD use other funding sources?

We do! TCD is the proud recipient of state, federal, local and private grants. But grant funding is a volatile revenue source that fluctuates year-to-year.

Grant criteria can be rigid or disconnected from our community’s priorities, making it difficult to tailor grant-funded services to local needs. Rates and charges allow for local control of how those funds are invested in the county.

Why is TCD proposing a 10-year rates and charges schedule?

Long-term local funding for TCD is the optimal choice for our community. Thurston County residents will benefit from:

Predictability: Reduced uncertainty about future funding gives us space to develop Thurston County-specific programs to solve and support complex natural resource and agriculture challenges, such as our unique endangered and threatened wildlife species and vibrant local agriculture economy.

Focus on Service: TCD will focus more on our mission and providing quality community service, rather than dealing with financial uncertainties and developing contingency plans for county-funded services, such as our popular soil testing program.

Investment in a local Conservation Education Center: This funding helps unlock the door to a Conservation Education Center (CEC) for our community. The CEC will be a “conservation hub” that unites urban and rural residents of all ages in learning about managing farmland, agricultural businesses, wildlife habitat, shorelines and other natural resources. Learn more about our plan for the CEC here.

How will a decision be made about TCD’s proposed renewal for rates and charges?

Two decisions will be made about the proposed rates and charges renewal:

1) June 25, 2024 the TCD Board of Supervisors votes on the proposed rates and charges at their June business meeting. The proposal the Board adopts will then go to the Thurston County Board of Commissioners for a final decision.

2) Summer/Fall 2024 the Thurston County Board of Commissioners votes on the rates and charges system. If passed, TCD rates and charges will take effect from 2025-2034.


Interested in learning more about Rates and Charges?

Sarah Moorehead
Executive Director

Share your public comment about Rates and Charges by May 24th at 4:30pm by emailing

You can also use our contact form.