05 May History of Conservation Districts
It was the ecological disaster of the dust bowl – a decade long sever drought coupled with over tilling – that led to national passage of the Soil Conservation Act of 1935. In 1934 over 100 million acres of top soil were lots in the Great Plains states. The sky would turn black, the sun disappeared and dirt crept in to every crevice and pour.
The Act set as national priority protection of our soil and water with an emphasis on working directly with land owners since most of the land is in private ownership. There was also recognition that landowners – farmers, ranchers, forester might not be too keen to work with the government – so a founding principle is that District services are voluntary and confidentiality is maintained.
Washington State passed enabling legislation in 1939 and Clark Conservation District formed in 1942, over 76 years of service to Clark County.