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In The Beginning. 1935 —Public Law 46 was passed by Congress: Established soil and water conservation and wise land use as a national policy Created the USDA—Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

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In The Beginning. . .

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In the beginning

In The Beginning. . .

  • 1935—Public Law 46 was passed by Congress:

  • Established soil and water conservation and wise

  • land use as a national policy

  • Created the USDA—Natural Resources

  • Conservation Service (NRCS)

  • 1937—President Franklin Roosevelt wrote all Governors recommending each state adopt legislation forming conservation districts, and a state agency to provide coordination, guidance, professional, technical and financial assistance to districts.

Governor Olin D. Johnston signed the SC Conservation District

Law on April 17, 1937.

Basic agreements with districts

Basic Agreements with Districts

These agreements establish the working relationship between the United States Secretary of Agriculture, State of South Carolina, SC Department of Natural Resources and each conservation district in South Carolina.

Agreements at a glance

Agreements at a Glance

Hand in hand

Hand in Hand . . .









Conservation districts

Conservation Districts

Man Working in Harmony with Nature

From the mountains

From the mountains . . .

Caesar’s Head, SC

Photo by Trevor Zion Bauknight

To the sea

. . . to the sea

Pawleys’ Island Sunrise

Legislative declaration of purpose

Legislative Declaration of Purpose

“All lands of the State are among the basic assets of the State and the preservation of these lands is necessary to promote the health, safety and general welfare of its people. . .”

“It is further declared to be the policy of the General Assembly to provide for the conservation of the soil and water resources of this State…”

Conservation districts1

  • 46 Conservation Districts in SC

  • 230 Commissioners: 138 Elected

  • in General Election and 92

  • appointed by the DNR

Conservation Districts

  • Soil and Water Conservation Districts Law § 48-9-10, et. Seq.

Function of conservation districts

8.2 million acres under a conservation plan

Function of Conservation Districts

Coordinate conservation planning on public lands

Jocassee Gorges

Road Stabilization

Develop comprehensive plans for the conservation of soil and water resources on private lands

Natural resource assessment

Natural Resource Assessment

Urban Assistance

Conducts surveys and research relating to soil erosion, flood and sediment damage, and water conservation

Ridge Road Project

Spartanburg County

Natural resource assessment1

Natural Resource Assessment

Rural Assistance

Conduct surveys, design, and other assistance to private landowners to improve soil and water quality.

In the beginning

Special Programs

  • 37 Watershed Districts

  • § 48-11-10, et seq.

  • 185 Directors

  • Taxing Authority

  • 75 Dams

  • 300 Miles of channels

  • Flood Control, water supply, fish & wildlife habitat, sediment control and recreation

Resource conservation

Resource Conservation

Make available machinery, fertilizer, seeds, seedlings, and other material and equipment for the conservation of soil and water resources

Educational programs

Educational Programs

  • SC Envirothon

  • Carolina Coastal Adventure

  • Governor’s Institute for

  • Natural Resource

  • Conservation

Dry hydrants

Dry Hydrants

  • 2500 Dry hydrants installed

  • Statewide savings on insurance premiums and property loss approximately $50 million/year

  • Reaches 300,000 people

  • 3,000 businesses benefit

Stormwater management

Stormwater Management

  • County Stormwater Management Programs

managed by:

- Clarendon Conservation District

- Greenville Conservation District

- Sumter Conservation District

In addition numerous Districts provide input on stormwater plans

Take home message

Take Home Message

  • The private sector is willing to implement best management practices (BMP’s) in a cooperative, non-regulatory framework.

  • State government has opportunities to have more input in natural resource management through the 46 Conservation Districts.

  • The voluntary approach by the Districts has been successful.

  • State Funded Cost Share Program

  • $690,000 instate funds given to Districts

  • Installed BMP’s worth $2,326,000

  • Participation is solely voluntary

Who benefits


Who Benefits

The State

The Economy

and most importantly,

Thanks to

Thanks to…

  • Pickens Soil & Water Conservation District

  • Greenville Soil & Water Conservation District

  • USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service

    • Dennis Bauknight, District Conservationist

    • Ross Stewart, Resource Conservationist, Pickens

  • S.C. Department of Natural Resources:

    Land, Water & Conservation Division,

    Von Snelgrove, Division Chief

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