Tom Salzer

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Tom has been interested in the natural world since a very early age. His first career as a mining and exploration geologist took him around the world. In 1992, he shifted his focus to issues that more directly and immediately affect people, including human health, water quality, and food systems.

Tom is currently the Executive Director of the Washington Association of Conservation Districts.

Tom in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2019

Executive Director,
Washington Association of Conservation Districts

Association management and statewide leadership on critical natural resource issues

Formed in 1942, the Washington Association of Conservation Districts supports conservation districts in their work with government, partner organizations, businesses, private landowners and working lands managers to implement best management practices and accomplish together what cannot be achieved alone.


Tom Salzer - Golden Promise Mine 1990

Tom began his geology career in 1979 and switched to working with conservation districts in 1992. Along the way he has lived and worked across the American West and in Indonesia.

Notable successes include:

  • discovering multiple gold deposits through creativity and perseverance;
  • successfully winning several grant awards;
  • completing a significant watershed assessment;
  • building and maintaining many websites to communicate key information to the public;
  • facilitating countless difficult issues;
  • writing state rules on critical aspects affecting conservation districts;
  • repairing and expanding partnerships;
  • coordinating the purchase of a 319-acre commercial forest for a conservation district; and
  • managing the construction of a $6.4-million 11,000-square-foot conservation center.

Tom has a long history of working with others to achieve positive outcomes on projects of all sizes. But what Tom is most proud of is a career filled with nurturing and supporting a diverse cast of incredible board members and employees, the lifeblood of every conservation district. Today he leads a forward-thinking and effective private nonprofit association in support of Washington State's 45 conservation districts.


Tom Salzer

Innovative and responsive leader of natural resource organizations with more than 30 years of experience in the conservation district world.


Bachelor of Science, Geology

1977 - 1979

Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington


Conservation Boards

  • Area Director: Northeast Area Association of Conservation Districts
  • President: Washington Association of District Employees
  • Pacific Region Director: National Conservation District Employees Association
  • Board Member: Oregon Association of Conservation Districts
  • Pacific Region Representative: Association of Conservation Executive Directors

Health Care

  • Commissioner: Ferry County Public Hospital District
  • EMT: Ferry County EMS and Hecla mine rescue team

Professional Experience

Executive Director

January 2020 - Present

Washington Association of Conservation Districts

General Manager

August 2010 - December 2019

Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District

Technical Services Manager

1998 - August 2010

Washington State Conservation Commission

SW Washington Regional Manager and Dairy Program Coordinator

1997 - 1998

Thurston Conservation District (under contract to Washington State Conservation Commission)

District Manager

1992 - 1997

Ferry Conservation District

Business Planner / Senior Mine Geologist

1988 - 1992

Hecla Mining Company


You can contact Tom through email on or Mastodon.