THE HISTORY OF JEFFERSON SWCD
What are Soil and Water Conservation Districts?
Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) exist in every county of the United States. They are legally defined as subdivisions of State government, but they function as local units. There are 45 Oregon SWCDs putting conservation on the ground. The results are cleaner water; more productive crop, pasture, and forest lands; and vibrant wildlife habitat.
History of the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District:
The 1930s brought an ecological disaster known as the “Dust Bowl” to the Midwest and Southern Great Plains in the U.S. Huge black dust storms blotted out the sun and swallowed the countryside, prompting the U.S. Congress to declare soil and water conservation a national policy and priority. Thus the idea for soil and water conservation districts was born. Today, there are almost 3,000 SWCD’s-- one in almost every county of the U.S. Each SWCD is designed to serve the conservation needs of that county and to educate and help its local citizens to conserve land, water, forests, wildlife and other natural resources.
In 1957 a group of cooperators in the Trout Creek area applied to the State Soil Conservation Committee to establish a Soil Conservation District (SCD) for the benefit of local landowners and cooperators. There were approximately 82 farms and 49 cooperators at that time, 36 of which had farm plans. Over time, Trout Creek increased their District as six more landowner/cooperators signed on with the District.
Trout Creek Soil Conservation District continued with plans to establish a working Conservation District. Although geographically isolated, they worked closely with the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and North Unit Irrigation District to accomplish more for the area than could be accomplished as individuals. In 1961 an application presented to the State for establishment of a West Jefferson County Soil Conservation District was successful. Thirty nine cooperators signed the petition.
By 1974, conservation needs continued to increase county-wide. A committee formed to study the feasibility of a single county Conservation District. The State granted a reorganization and combining of Trout Creek SCD and West Jefferson SCD into the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District. Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District has been assisting local landowners with technical, financial and advisory expertise ever since.
JEFFERSON COUNTY SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT IS:
NOT a Federal, County, State or City Agency. We ARE a Special Purpose district, and are similar in many ways to a fire control district. NOT a Regulatory or Enforcement Agency.
NOT an environmental activist group. We ARE administered by the volunteer efforts of local landowners and citizens selected in the General Elections to serve on the Board of Directors; authorized to provide assistance to all county farmers, ranchers and citizens upon request; and committed to serving all members of the community regardless of gender, race, ethnic background or national origin.