Discover the SWCD story

Creation of soil and water conservation districts

Dust Bowl

Dust Bowl – South Dakota 1936

During the Great Depression in the 1930s, farm families in the plains of mid America experienced a devastating six year long drought. With no moisture or plant roots to hold the soil, it blew away in billowing clouds which choked people and covered everything. Farmers were left without any natural or economic resources. They became “dirt poor,” and the area became known as the Dust Bowl.

Soil Conservation Service

Seeking a way to prevent additional loss of soil resources, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Hugh Hammond Bennett to employ his vision and knowledge of conservation to implement his coordinated, comprehensive plans for conservation farming.

In 1935, The Soil Conservation Service was established within the United States Department of Agriculture, through the Soil Conservation Act. The new conservation farming system provided farmers with money for seed, fertilizer, equipment, and labor to install terraces, waterways, and fences and to improve pastures.

Local conservation districts

At first, it was thought the federal government, through the Soil Conservation Service, could manage the whole program, but during the initial two years it learned the task needed local support and direction. The Soil Conservation Service needed farmer’s help and cooperation to put together an effective program. In 1937, President Roosevelt asked all state governors to promote legislation to allow the formation of soil conservation districts. This began a partnership that exists today.

And out of the dust rose Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District

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Download a copy of our 1974 formation documents.

The Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District (CCSWCD) prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by CCSWCD. CCSWCD is an Equal Opportunity Employer.