Conservation districts were born out of the 1930s Dust Bowl to address America’s devastating soil erosion. At that time, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared soil and water conservation a national policy priority, leading to the creation of conservation districts.
Conservation districts are local units of government established under state law to carry out natural resource stewardship programs at the local level. Conservation districts have been involved in delivering voluntary, locally‐led conservation across America for more than 70 years. They exist in nearly every county and community in the nation, where they work with landowners, farmers, ranchers and non-industrial private forestland owners to help them manage and protect natural resources on private land.
Conservation Districts at a Glance
- Promote voluntary, incentive-based and locally-led solutions to natural resource concerns
- Provide technical assistance to landowners to address natural resource concerns
- Help farmers, ranchers and non-industrial, private forestland owners implement best management practices to protect soil health, water quality and quantity, air quality and wildlife habitat
- Assist landowners in their efforts to secure financial assistance to implement conservation practices
- Support a strong agriculture base and believe conservation practices should be economically-viable in order to encourage maximum participation by agriculture operations
- Facilitate wetlands conservation and restoration to purify water and provide habitat for birds, fish and other wildlife
- Provide support to farmers and ranchers in complying with federal and state regulatory requirements
- Assist local communities in managing stormwater, reducing runoff and keeping sediment out of streams and lakes
- Work with communities and homeowners to plant trees and other vegetation to hold soil in place, clean the air, provide cover for wildlife and beautify neighborhoods
- Educate communities and schools about the value of natural resources and encourage conservation efforts