Somerset County SWCD Mission
To preserve and improve soil and water quality for the entire county through education and implementation of conservation practices.
History of Soil and Water Conservation Districts
“The Nation that destroys its soil destroys itself” was the warning issued in 1937 by President Roosevelt when he signed legislation authorizing the creation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. At that time, the nation was facing a monumental task of protecting our soil and water from the ravages of improper use that resulted in the “Dust Bowl” era.
The Federal Government realized it could only solve the problem through strong local involvement and participation. Local people had to be a major part of the solution, which is why Soil and Water Conservation Districts were formed.
Today, our nation is facing numerous conservation challenges: non-point source pollution, storm water management, agricultural related issues such as nutrient management, forest practices that must meet increasing regulation to name a few. As it was in the 1930’s, the solution is local involvement. Districts are subdivisions of state government run by locally elected and appointed volunteers who work to solve local natural resource problems. It is community involvement and the voluntary approach that makes Soil and Water Conservation Districts so effective.
Working in a unique cooperative partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, which provides strong technical expertise, and state and local partners, Soil and Water Conservation Districts reach out to all local stakeholders in the community to determine priorities and set a course of action to solve natural resource problems.
Districts provide local conservation leadership, teach the value of natural resources, encourage conservation efforts and help plan and implement voluntary programs. Each District program is different and unique to the area that it serves, because the programs are developed by local people to solve local problems.
Local partnering efforts include Locally Led Conservation. Our role is to bring together all stakeholders to set priorities and address local conservation needs.