What are 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 another monumental task: Controlling “polluted runoff”, otherwise known as Non-Point Source Pollution. 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.
Benefits of District Programs
- Help solve statewide problems by providing local solutions to many local natural resource problems (one size does not fit all)
- Develop local leadership
- Provide local hands-on training on natural resource issues
- Teach the value of natural resources directly to local people
- Provide voluntary technical assistance to landusers
- Technical assistance and education help prevent and reduce polluted runoff (non-point source pollution)
- Technical assistance helps protect drinking water supplies
- Technical assistance helps landowners to better manage their forests
- Programs bring in outside money (federal) that is spent locally
- Technical assistance and education helps keep the rural character of Maine (maintain farm and open space)
About Maine Association of Conservation Districts
The Maine Association of Conservation Districts is the statewide voice of Maine’s 16 local Soil and Water Conservation Districts. By working with landowners, nonprofit organizations and federal, state, and local governments, Districts have helped to protect our soil, water, forests, wildlife, and other natural resources for over 60 years.
Our mission is to strengthen our member Districts public visibility, awareness of governmental activities, and technical and financial capacity in pursuit of natural resources conservation and food and fiber production.
MACD is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation all donations are tax-deductible. MACD is an equal opportunity provider and employer.