Conservation District's History
Dust Bowl

Conservation Districts had their beginning in the 1930s as a result of  national concerns over mounting agricultural erosion, floods and the sky-blackening dust storms that swept across the country.

Congress enacted the Soil Conservation Act of 1935, which established a national policy for the control and prevention of soil erosion, and directed the Secretary of Agriculture to establish the Soil Conservation Service to implement this policy.

The Conservation District concept was developed to enlist the cooperation of landowners and occupiers in carrying out the programs authorized by the act. In 1937, President Roosevelt wrote to the governors of all the states recommending legislation that would allow local landowners to form soil conservation districts.  Congress realized that only active, voluntary support from landowners would guarantee the success of conservation work on private land given that about 75% of the continental United States was privately owned. The Dust Bowl taught everyone a valuable history lesson. 

Today, over 3,000 conservation districts nationwide continually adapt to newly emerging conservation challenges such as

  • Drinking Water and Aquifer Protection
  • Wetland Protection and Restoration
  • Preservation of Farmland and Open Space
  • Curbing Urban Sprawl with Wise Planning and Sound  Development Practices
  • Protecting Aquatic Resources through better Stormwater Management.


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