Soil erosion issues during the Dust Bowl led to the creation of Conservation Districts in Kansas. The first Conservation District was formed in Labette County in 1938 and the last, Shawnee County, in 1954. Across the state, 105 Conservation Districts (one in every county) provide local leadership by helping local people address local natural resource needs.
The Conservation District is the primary local unit of government responsible for the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources within its county’s boundary. Kansas Conservation Districts are political subdivisions of state government charged with this vital role. Funding comes from county and state allocations, with some districts generating funds by providing conservation goods and services.
Our Core Values include:
· Water Quality and Quantity Improvement
· Soil Health Development and Improvement
· Wildlife Habitat Improvement
· Conservation Education
Conservation Districts address a wide range of environmental concerns. Those interests include agricultural and urban erosion and sediment control, water quality, water quantity, range and pasture management, fish and wildlife habitat, and other natural resource management issues. This benefits both the agricultural community and society as a whole. Clean water and productive soil are basic to our quality of life now and in the future.
Conservation Districts provide information and education to landowners, schools and the general public about soil and water conservation issues. Some Districts offer conservation-related items for sale such as grass seed and trees. Many Districts have equipment available to rent that promotes conservation by preventing erosion and improving water quality. This equipment may include grass drills, tree planters and no-till seeders. Services and activities vary with each conservation district.
The Conservation District’s governing board is comprised of five elected local citizens known as Supervisors. They establish local priorities, set policy, and administer non-regulatory conservation programs during monthly board meetings. The Supervisors, although serving as public officials, do not draw a salary. Conservation District employee(s) are hired by the Supervisors to provide day-to-day coordination of District activities.
Each Conservation District has an annual meeting either in January or February where the public are invited to come listen about the accomplishments of the district and learn more about the programs offered in the county. Also, an election is conducted for the position(s) of Supervisor(s) to fill the expired three-year term. In this election, every qualified elector residing in the county is eligible to vote.
Please contact your Conservation District for program availability or to see how you can become more involved in conserving soil and water for future generations.