Across the United States, nearly 3,000 conservation districts—almost one in every county—work directly with landowners to conserve and promote healthy soils, water, forests and wildlife. NACD represents these districts and the more than 17,000 citizens who serve on conservation district governing boards.
Conservation districts may go by different names—”soil and water conservation districts,” “resource conservation districts,” “natural resource districts” and “land conservation committees”—but they all share a single mission: to coordinate assistance from all available sources—public and private, local, state and federal—to develop locally-driven solutions to natural resources concerns.
In addition to serving as coordinators for conservation in the field, districts:
- Implement farm, ranch and forestland conservation practices to protect soil productivity, water quality and quantity, air quality and wildlife habitat;
- Conserve and restore wetlands, which purify water and provide habitat for birds, fish and other animals;
- Protect groundwater resources;
- Assist communities and homeowners in planting trees and other land cover to hold soil in place, clean the air, provide cover for wildlife, and beautify neighborhoods;
- Help developers control soil erosion and protect water and air quality during construction; and
- Reach out to communities and schools to teach the value of natural resources and encourage conservation efforts.
Because conservation districts are established under state law, they are often referred to differently depending on where they are located. What we refer to as “conservation districts” are called the following in these states:
- Land Conservation Departments
- Natural Resource Conservation Districts
- Natural Resources Districts
- Resource Conservation Districts
- Soil Conservation Districts
- Idaho, North Dakota, Utah, Maryland, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, Tennessee
- Soil & Water Conservation Districts
- Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and the Pacific Basin