The current Soil and Water Conservation movement was created from the devastation of the Dust Bowl and the recognized need for soil conservation. Dr. Hugh Hammond Bennett, “the father of soil conservation” was a native of Anson County, North Carolina. He gave a speech in Washington DC while a dust storm blackened the streets and the Soil Conservation Act of 1935 was adopted. He led the charge by creating the first soil and water conservation district, the Brown Creek District, which included Anson County. Soil and Water Conservation Districts have stayed true to their mission by offering locally led conservation and delivering effective conservation programs to their local constituents for over 75 years. To access a conservation partnership brief click here. To view a copy of the NC Conservation Partnership's Memorandum of Agreement click here.
Local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (Districts), legal subdivisions of the state, are responsible under state law for planning and conducting comprehensive natural resources conservation programs in their respective districts. Districts collaborate with local, state, and federal resources to put voluntary conservation programs on the land. Districts work with land users (individuals, groups, corporations, government, etc.) who are decision makers having control over the use and treatment of land where conservation measures are applied. A five-person board of supervisors administers each District. Click here to find contact information for your District.
The North Carolina Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (Association)is an independent, nonpartisan conservation organization created in 1944 to represent the interests of the 96 local soil and water conservation districts and the 492 district supervisors who direct the District conservation programs. Specifically, it; (a) promotes soil and water conservation through its member Districts, cooperating agencies, and organizations as well as the media, (b) represents the interests of member Districts in the creation, cultivation, and full realization of locally led conservation programs with state and federal agencies, interested organizations, and the public, and (c) coordinates the conservation partnership work for the common interests of all Districts.
The North Carolina Soil and Water Conservation Commission (Commission), a body created by state statute, is charged by law with carrying out a comprehensive statewide campaign to promote the conservation of soil, water, and related resources. The Commission is responsible for keeping local Districts organized according to the State’s general statutes. The Commission also has responsibility for implementing specific state programs such as the North Carolina Agricultural Cost-share Program. A seven-person board governs the Commission. The North Carolina Division of Soil and Water Conservation, in the State’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, administers a comprehensive statewide program for conserving soil and water resources. It serves as staff for the Commission and assists the 96 Districts and the Association in providing technical, financial, and educational assistance to the public.
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides technical and financial assistance to Districts and their cooperating land users. NRCS assistance includes helping land users plan and install conservation systems, collecting natural resources information, and helping communities reduce flood damage and enhance economic opportunities. NRCS also works to improve water quality and the natural environment through voluntary programs and technical assistance.