About Us

Our History

Soil Conservation Districts were first authorized under Illinois Soil Conservation Districts Law of 1937; established during the Dust Bowl Era to combat the soil erosion taking place. Upon meeting statutory requirements the law allowed districts to be chartered as a subdivision of state government. A majority of landowners in the district were required to obtain a state charter.

Stephenson Soil Conservation District was chartered in 1942, as Illinois 13th District. The word water was added to the title of the district in 1961 to emphasize the importance of water conservation and management as well as soil. 

 Under the Illinois Soil and Water Conservation District Act, the 96 SWCD’s in Illinois are local units of government. The Act gives SWCD’s the responsibility to provide technical information to individuals and groups on methods of soil and water conservation, and to provide natural resource inventory information on properties stated for zoning changes. The SWCD’s purpose is to promote the protection, maintenance, improvement and wise use of the soil, water and related resources within the District. 
Stephenson County Soil and Water Conservation District is a public body made up of citizens concerned with the protection of our natural resources. Stephenson SWCD is governed by a five-member board of directors elected by District landowners and residents. Directors are elected for a two year term at a general election held in our office each February. This Board of Directors, along with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) develop annual and long range plans that direct the activities of the District and NRCS. 
Stephenson Co. SWCD serves a point of contact to landowners wanting to address resource concerns on their property and assists in delivering programs that prevent erosion from urban development and of tillable soil that threaten our agricultural economy and sustainability of our surface water supplies. District staff provides services to the general public. Below are some of the services and events SWCD along with assistance of NRCS provide: Cover Crop tour, Woodland tour, Pond tour, and Burn Workshop.  Other SWCD programs include; annual tree sale, fish sales, well water testing, rain barrel sales, Colby Smith Memorial tree project and many educational events. SWCD partners with Stephenson County and supports requests for Filter Strip Assessment Tax Relief, reviews & evaluates Land Evaluation Site Assessments (LESA), Natural Resource Inventory reports (NRI), High Capacity Well permits and abandon well sealing. 
Districts have no taxing authority. Funding is provided primarily by grants through the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA).  

Board of Directors

Chad Alderks

Chad Alderks

Vice Chairman
Barb Klinger

Barb Klinger

Jim Hutchison

Jim Hutchison


The Governing body of the SWCD consists of five elected directors, who shall be owners or occupiers of lands within the district. Their purpose is to carry-out in the public’s interest the control/prevention of soil erosion, conservation of resources, and prevention of air/water pollution. The Directors willingly give their time to decide what natural resource and agriculture issues in Stephenson county need to be addressed, what action will be taken, and who is responsible for getting the work done. It is their duty to approve the budget for all funds, approve all payments made by the District, and provide for an annual audit. They have the responsibility for personnel management including job descriptions, performance standards, policies, and benefits while providing direction, motivation and guidance. 

A director will serve a minimum of a two-year term on the SWCD board, attend monthly board meetings, participate and serve on committees.

SWCD Directors also review, monitor, and supervise the finances, office personnel, and workload of the SWCD; represent the SWCD as time allows, at local, regional, state and national conservation affiliated events and meetings; participate, as time allows in regional and state affiliated organizations. 

If you are a landowner or occupy land in Stephenson County, of legal voting age, and would like to make a difference in the future of the county’s natural resources, a Director/Associate Director seat may be waiting for you.

If you are interested or would like to nominate someone, stop by the office at 1620 S. Galena Avenue, Freeport IL for a form. 

The SWCD is an equal opportunity provider and employer.