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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
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.

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.


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