What is a Conservation District?
Conservation Districts were first formed as local grassroots groups to encourage farm conservation planning in response to the “dust bowl” in the 1930’s. The idea behind them was that local people knew best how to handle soil and water conservation problems in their own areas. The emphasis was on educating landowners about wise land use and encouraging voluntary cooperation to achieve farm conservation planning. Technical conservation expertise was made available free to all landowners through the USDA Soil Conservation Service (Now the Natural Resources Conservation Service.) The Conservation District board was made up of farmer volunteers who directed the local program. Frequently, these conservation pioneers spent their time convincing their neighbors to adopt measures to save their topsoil and keep local streams free of pollution. The movement was catching. Today there are Conservation Districts in every state in the union. In Pennsylvania, districts follow county boundaries.
Today Conservation Districts are still made up of local volunteers committed to the conservation ethic. Encouraging farm conservation planning and wise land use is still the backbone of the district’s program. Today, however, an awareness of increasing environmental problems has expanded the district’s responsibilities to include urban and forestry erosion and sediment control, conservation education in schools, stormwater management planning, wildlife and forestry enhancement and water quality.
The Pennsylvania General Assembly, recognizing the valuable role districts play, passed the “Conservation District Law”, Act 217, which made districts a subdivision of state government responsible for the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources within their counties. Districts now have small staffs to handle the increased work load and receive funding from both county and state government. The Conservation District Board continues to direct the local program and the Crawford Conservation District continues to emphasize education and voluntary cooperation to achieve conservation goals.
Crawford Conservation District
The board members of the Crawford Conservation District are nominated by county-wide organizations and appointed by the Crawford County Commissioners to serve four-year terms. The board members serve on a voluntary basis as a community service.
They are charged with carrying out a local program of conservation within Crawford County. Four board members must represent agricultural interests; two members must represent urban interests, and one member is a County Commissioner who is appointed to serve a one-year term.
2014 Annual Report for a copy of the Crawford County Conservation District’s 2014 Annual Report.