2019 WIR Conference

Conference

2019 WIR Conference

The NACo Western Interstate Region (WIR) Conference brings together county officials from across the nation to focus on pressing issues facing counties and our residents. Each year the conference provides attendees with the opportunity to interact with federal, state and regional policymakers, participate in educational sessions and take home tools to address challenges.
Tue. May 14
8:30 am

Built between 1933 and 1942, Grand Coulee Dam is the key to the development of power on the Columbia River and with a nameplate-capacity of nearly 7,000 MW of electricity, it is still the largest power station in the United States. Grand Coulee Dam forms Lake Roosevelt, which extends 151 miles upstream to the Canadian border and provides water to irrigate approximately 600,000 acres in the Columbia Basin Project. In addition to its irrigation and power functions, Grand Coulee Dam is a primary factor in controlling the floods on the Columbia River. Join us on this special tour provided by the United States Bureau of Reclamation and get a behind the scenes look at this man-made marvel. Lunch will be provided.

9:00 am

The A to Z pilot project is the result of years of collaborative work among elected officials, federal agencies, environmental groups, tribes, the timber industry and community groups. Through a unique partnership that has attracted national attention, the United Stated Forest Service and private industry have teamed up to thin and restore 54,000 acres of the 1.1 million-acre Colville National Forest. The 10-year A to Z sale includes selective logging, controlled burns, stream restoration and road maintenance work. Some of the logs will be turned into lumber at Vaagen Brothers’ Washington sawmills and other logs will be chipped and burned for wood-fired electricity. During this interactive workshop, hear from the leaders who turned this vision into a reality. Lunch will be provided.

Wed. May 15
7:30 am

Public Lands Trust Fund Trustees Meeting

Invitation Only

Wed. May 15 | 7:30 am to 8:15 am
8:00 am

WIR Conference Registration

Wed. May 15 | 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
9:00 am

WIR Board of Directors Meeting

Wed. May 15 | 9:00 am to 12:00 pm
12:00 pm

LUNCH BREAK

Wed. May 15 | 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

State Executives Lunch

Invitation Only

Wed. May 15 | 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
1:15 pm

Agriculture and Rural Affairs Policy Steering Committee Meeting and Mobile Workshop

Wed. May 15 | 1:15 pm to 5:15 pm

Joint Public Lands Policy Steering Committee & Energy, Environment and Land Use (EELU) Policy Steering Committee Meeting and Mobile Workshop

Wed. May 15 | 1:15 pm to 5:15 pm
5:15 pm

WIR Board of Directors and NACo Board of Directors Reception

Invitation Only

Wed. May 15 | 5:15 pm
Thu. May 16
7:30 am

WIR Conference Registration

Thu. May 16 | 7:30 am to 4:30 pm
8:30 am

Opening General Session

Thu. May 16 | 8:30 am to 10:00 am
10:15 am

Federal Agency Partner Session with the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service

Thu. May 16 | 10:15 am to 11:45 am

Federal lands make up around 35 percent of the more than 2 billion acres in the United States and comprise as much as 90 percent of some counties, particularly in the west. Resource and forest management plans, along with land use plans, provide direction to federal land managers for development and use of natural resources and can greatly affect the economic, physical and social landscape of local communities. This workshop will explore the opportunities for robust local government involvement to ensure the perspective of the community is reflected in resource and forest management plans and implementation.

Moving Individuals with Mental Illnesses out of Jails Faster

Thu. May 16 | 10:15 am to 11:45 am

Jails across the country are struggling with too many people with mental illnesses in their jails. National data shows that individuals with mental illnesses stay in jails two to three times longer than those without these illnesses, contributing to this overpopulation. In this workshop, hear from county leaders about how they are working to more quickly process cases to reduce the time that people with mental illnesses stay in jails while awaiting trial and better connect them to community-based treatment and services.

12:00 pm

Attendee Luncheon

Thu. May 16 | 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
1:30 pm

Collaborative Forest Restoration: Actively Improving Federal Lands through Dialogue and Action

Thu. May 16 | 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Forest collaboratives bring federal agencies, state and local officials, industry and non-profit groups together to find solutions to landscape health issues. Throughout the West, county governments play an important role in planning and implementing forest health projects on the national forests. At this workshop, participants will learn about the challenges and successes of forest collaboratives and how their scale of use can be broadened moving forward.

Increasing Access to Early Childhood Support in Impoverished Communities

Thu. May 16 | 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Recent brain science shows that the most rapid period of brain development occurs within the first three years of life – developing faster from birth to age three than at any later period. This builds the foundation for all future learning, behavior and health. Research also shows that high-quality early childhood development programs can deliver an annual return of up to 13 percent per child on upfront costs through better outcomes in education, health, employment and social behavior in the decades that follow; and economists attribute local economic growth and prosperity to high-quality early child care programs. Counties across the country are joining in a national initiative to champion efforts to promote early childhood development and make young children a priority. Hear from western counties on their efforts to reach young children from prenatal to age three to improve their outcomes and increase their access to services and supports in their community. Learn from western counties on how to engage your local stakeholders, increase public will, and support promising approaches in early childhood development to meet the needs of at-risk children and their families.

The 2020 Census: Assessing the County Role and Potential Impacts

Thu. May 16 | 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Ensuring a fair and accurate count in the 2020 Census is vital to all counties, as census data directs over $600 billion in federal spending each year. In this workshop, learn from county assessors about the role your county can play in preparing for and administering the upcoming decennial census. This session will also discuss changes being implemented in the 2020 Census, including a shift to more digital collection forms, and how you can engage directly with the U.S. Census Bureau.

NACo Board of Directors Meeting

Thu. May 16 | 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm
3:30 pm

Engaging with Federal Partners to Grow a Sustainable Outdoor Recreation Economy

Thu. May 16 | 3:30 pm to 4:45 pm

Millions of Americans visit our nation’s public lands for recreational activities such as hiking, camping, off-road vehicle use and much more. This generates a multi-billion dollar economic impact for gateway communities. This workshop will focus on the nexus of outdoor recreation on public lands, ways that management of recreation impacts tourism in gateway communities, and how local governments can engage to build and grow sustainable recreation programs.

Untapped Resources: Grow Your County’s Economic Development

Thu. May 16 | 3:30 pm to 4:45 pm

Wouldn’t it be great if you could provide the businesses in your county with business advising, financing options and other tools for growth without tapping into your budget and resources? At this workshop, you will learn how those exact resources are available to your community. You can hear about programs provided by federal agencies to help spur economic development and small business growth in western counties.

6:00 pm

Conference-wide Dinner Event

Thu. May 16 | 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Fri. May 17
8:00 am

WIR Conference Registration

Fri. May 17 | 8:00 am to 12:00 pm
8:30 am

The Annual Business Meeting is open to all attendees.

9:00 am

The General Session includes the Installation of the WIR Officers and the Presentation of the Dale Sowards Award.

10:45 am

How Counties Take the Lead in Serving Veterans

Fri. May 17 | 10:45 am to 12:15 pm

America’s counties have a long and proud history of taking care of our nations veterans, a legacy that continues to this day as we work with our local, state, and federal partners to ensure every veteran receives the care and support they have earned through their service. Counties offer a broad range of services to millions of veterans and their families, from housing, employment and financial assistance to health care and substance use disorder treatment to burial services. Additionally, counties in over 30 states employ county veteran services officers (CVSOs) to directly assist veterans in filing for and appealing veterans benefit claims with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), access other state and local benefits, and to otherwise act as advocates for veterans in our communities. This workshop will serve as a forum to discuss some of the many ways counties are working to improve the lives of our veterans, including how these efforts might be replicated in other communities, both across the West and nationwide.

Powering Local Economies and Forging the Future of Smart, Resilient Grid

Fri. May 17 | 10:45 am to 12:15 pm

Taking advantage of the research and development expertise of nearby Department of Energy Pacific Northwest National Lab, this session could explore the future of our power grid in the West and looking toward a more resilient and reliable system, in the face of natural disasters, population growth, and rise of renewable energy interest of customers and utilities.

12:15 pm

Box Lunch

Fri. May 17 | 12:15 pm to 12:45 pm
Back to Top