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Our History 

In 1935 the U.S. Department of Agriculture organized the Voluntary Soil Conservation Associations throughout the United States. As a result, the Stephenson County office was incorporated February 4, 1942 as the Stephenson Soil Conservation District to provide services to the county and establish resource conservation priorities. A cooperative arrangement was established with state forestry departments and other state regulatory agencies that shared similar interests. In 1986 the word "water" was added to the name, forming the Stephenson Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).


The District Movement:

Across the United States, nearly 3000 conservation districts are working to conserve and develop land, water, forests, wildlife and related resources for the benefit of all. More than 15,000 men and women serve on the governing bodies of districts.


A conservation district is a local subdivision of state government that seeks, utilizes and coordinates assistance from all available, appropriate sources: private and public, local, state and federal. Districts work with more than 2.3 million cooperators nationwide, encompassing more than 778 million acres of private land.


Organized in all 50 states - plus Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Pacific Basin Islands, and the District of Columbia - districts have formed statewide associations to carry on educational and research activities that will further the wise use of natural resources. Working in cooperation with these associations are state soil and water conservation agencies - responsible under the laws of their states for encouraging the organization of districts, providing information about their work, assisting them in their efforts, and coordinating their activities.


The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) was organized by districts and their state associations to serve as the national voice for the conservation district movement. Formed in 1946, NACD enables districts to collectively accomplish what would be difficult or impossible to accomplish individually. NACD pools district experiences and develops national policies on a continuing basis. It maintains relationships with organizations and government agencies; publishes information about districts; works with leaders in agriculture, environment, industry, youth, religion and other fields; and provides services to districts through its various offices throughout the country.

© Stephenson Soil & Water Conservation District