The Teton Conservation District is a subdivision of state government whose mission is to “promote conservation and management of natural resources — air, land, water, vegetation, and wildlife — through watershed-based research, education, conservation practices, cooperative projects, and on-the-ground actions to ensure the health, safety and general welfare of the people and resources of this area.” It is governed by a 5-member elected Board of Supervisors. Learn more about the Teton Conservation District here.
In the 2020 election, there are two open Teton Conservation District seats. Incumbent Roby Hurley is running unopposed for the “Urban” seat. Incumbent Nate Fuller is running unopposed for the “At-Large” seat. Both are four-year terms.
At the Alliance, we believe that our local government works best when voters are fully informed and educated about the views of our candidates and elected representatives. To educate voters about candidates, the Alliance requested that candidates answer this questionnaire on a range of community issues, including conservation. We have included all candidates’ full and unedited responses here.
Note: None of the information in this guide should be taken as an endorsement, support, or opposition of any candidates – as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, the Alliance does not take any positions on candidates. We do encourage all eligible voters to research and remember to vote for your Teton Conservation District leaders, who play an important role in protecting our wildlife and wild places.
The mission of the Teton Conservation District is “to promote conservation and management of natural resources—air, land, water, vegetation, and wildlife….” What does this mean to you and what are three specific actions you think the Conservation District should take in the next four years to work toward this vision?
Nate Fuller: The TCD should continue to proactively identify and seek solutions to issues with water, wildlife, and other community environmental issues. Well testing is one step, working with the county and stakeholders to improve water quality in problematic area is a second step. Another step I would like to see TCD take is to continue to push for and educate the community on the efficacy of mechanical weed control in lieu of the use of herbicides.
Roby Hurley: Promote and participate in a comprehensive sewer and water plan that includes water in and water out County wide. Continue in a leadership role as a member of the JH Clean Water Coalition. Assist in the development of a special district in Hoback. Partner in and support local agriculture initiatives. Continue as administrator of the Wildfire Risk Reduction Program.
The Town of Jackson/Teton County Comprehensive Plan vision is to “preserve and protect the area’s ecosystem in order to ensure a healthy environment, community and economy for current and future generations.” How do you envision the TCD working with the Town and County to meet shared objectives?
Nate Fuller: The TCD can act as a voice for the environment and community rather than operate for the benefit of hotels and resorts. By supporting and bringing to the front of county radar projects and plans that benefit the environment rather than tourism and profit the TCD can help improve the health of our ecosystem and community.
Roby Hurley: Promote and participate in a comprehensive sewer and water plan that includes water in and water out County wide. Ensure that any change in use on school and BLM parcels protect wildlife movement and water quality. Continue to support studies that analyse the impacts of recreation on wildlife habitat.
We live in a wild place where interactions with wildlife are a part of daily life. How can TCD help reduce conflicts with wildlife moving through our neighborhoods, including bears getting killed for getting into unsecured trash cans?
Nate Fuller: Education of residents and visitors is the first step towards reducing wildlife conflict. This is a role the TCD is currently filling.
Roby Hurley: Promote and participate in the adoption of the draft LDRs that require bear proof containers, county and town wide. During Neighborhood Planning Exercises start with green infrastructure planning that protects wildlife movement before development is designed.
This summer we’ve had frightening reminders that we live in wildfire country. Now, science suggests that the probability of wildfire in northwest Wyoming may increase sevenfold due to climate change. Here in Teton County nearly 4,500 homes are located in the “wildland-urban interface” directly in the path of future wildfires. What role, if any, do you see the Conservation District playing in addressing this issue?
Nate Fuller: TCD is doing reviews to help protect homes in the “wildland urban interface,” please consider contacting the TCD if you own a home in these areas.
Roby Hurley: TCD already plays an active role on this issue as a member of the Teton Area Wildfire Protection Coalition. TCD staff will continue to conduct individual and subdivision wildfire risk assessments and educate the public on cost share opportunities for reducing risk. TCD staff is maxed out working on wildfire risk so TCD will work to expand assistance by contracting out services.
Hoback residents don’t have access to clean drinking water from their taps, and Hoback is just the first canary in the coal mine. Some of our most important creeks are listed as impaired. Our water quality is steadily getting worse. What more can TCD do to protect water?
Nate Fuller: TCD has been instrumental in identifying these issues and has facilitated working groups to investigate solutions to these water quality issues.
Roby Hurley: Re Hoback, TCD has done much to educate and mitigate the drinking water contamination. Ideally TCD will take an active roll in the formation of a special district to enable clean potable water for Hoback. On a County scale TCD should promote and participate in a comprehensive sewer and water plan that includes water in and water out. Failure to review comprehensively will result in a fractured approach. Jackson has already started on an aggressive stormwater management plan. This model should be replicated in the county’s high impervious areas such as the Village. TCD should promote and participate in the adoption of the draft LDRs that have updated stream buffer standards.