Preserving our natural resources is an obligation shared by everyone. Clean water and productive soils are basic to our quality of life now and in the future.
Fortunately, natural resource management is already in place in your community. Through your local Soil and Water Conservation District, community leaders, in concert with state and federal experts, have developed and instituted conservation programs that will help protect your natural resources well into the next century.
What is a Soil and Water Conservation District? Conservation districts trace their formation to the 1930’s when national attention was focused on the soil erosion crisis of the Dust Bowl. From that point, Conservation Districts have evolved into a “unique” unit of local government that utilizes state, federal and private sector resources to solve today’s conservation problems, ranging from water quality to flood control to wildlife shelter and beyond.
There are nearly 3,000 Conservation Districts in America, with 47 in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Authorized under state law, each District assesses conservation problems on the local level, sets priorities for conservation efforts and then coordinates and carries out appropriate programs.
Each Conservation District is guided by a governing board of district officials, either elected or appointed, who give their time and talents voluntarily. These officials work closely with landowners and others interested in conservation programs.
Conservation Districts serve as the bridge between federal and state resource management agencies and land managers. Direct funding for Conservation Districts comes from a variety of sources, including governments, grants, special projects and others. While natural resource conservation is a national priority, the guiding philosophy of all Conservation Districts is that decisions on conservation problems should be made on the local level, by local people, with technical assistance provided by government.