 The history of Conservation Districts.
 Current trends in land use and conservation.
 How Conservation Districts are meeting the
needs of landowners.
 What ecological disaster brought about the creation
of Conservation Districts?
 In the beginning, Conservation Districts focused
programs on what type of landowner?
 What type of landowners are Conservation Districts
now serving?
 What do Conservation Districts provide landowners?
In the early 1930s, along with the Great Depression,
came an equally unparalleled ecological disaster known
as the Dust Bowl.
Huge black dust storms that
stretched across the nation
blotted out the sun and
swallowed the countryside.
On Capitol Hill, while testifying about America’s soil
erosion problem, soil scientist
Hugh Hammond Bennett
drew back the curtains
to reveal a sky
blackened by dust.
Congress saw with their
own eyes the seriousness
of the situation and
immediately declared
soil and water conservation
a national policy
and priority.
 1935 – Federal Soil
Conservation Service
 1936 – Federal Soil
Conservation and
Domestic Allotment Act
of 1936
 1937 – Michigan passed
the Soil Conservation
District Law Act 297,
P.A. 1937.
Mr. Hugh Hammond Bennett
“One of the best, and certainly
the most promising, of the
devices yet invented by man
for dealing democratically and
effectively with maladjustment
in land use, as well as for
carrying forward positive
programs of desirable
conservation, and for
maintaining the work, is the
soil conservation district.“
Hugh Hammond Bennett
 Special purpose local
units of state
 Created by a vote of
the people to provide
programs assistance
to local communities.
In their early beginnings, Conservation Districts focused
their programs on rural America; assisting farmers
and ranchers in
measures to prevent
their soil from blowing
And washing away.
Michigan Conservation Districts utilize state, federal and
private sector resources to address conservation concerns
in their local communities.
Districts are the state’s private lands delivery system,
providing local delivery of private lands conservation
programs, including the Forestry Assistance Program and
the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance
Program. Districts utilize these and other programs to
provide quality service and assistance to their constituents.
Agricultural operations
are becoming more
complex, which brings
new conservation
Pressures on natural resources have continued to
mount due to developing sensitive areas without
proper conservation measurers in place.
And other types of
non-point source
pollution occur due
to the actions of the
many new landowners
in rural and suburban
Districts address
today’s conservation
challenges and serve
all landowners and
users, from urban
customers to their
 Identify county resource
 Utilize local, state and federal
programs to address identified
 Provide natural resource
technical and educational
assistance to farmers and
Michigan’s 78 Conservation Districts provide technical
assistance and natural resource management services to help
our citizens to manage their land for a cleaner, healthier,
and economically stronger Michigan.
Conservation Districts bring a host of resources to
landowners, assisting them to better address natural resource
Conservation Districts partner with state, federal and local
governments, conservation organizations, and the agricultural
Conservation Districts continuously scan the needs of
their communities, work with others involved in
conservation to set local
priorities, and
develop action
plans to help understand
and solve natural
resource problems.
Conservation Districts allow the public a trusted, local
point of access in their communities
for conservation expertise,
technical assistance and
natural resource
 Conservation Districts have a proud history in
leading the efforts to provide assistance in erosion
control and rehabilitating farmlands and forests.
 Today’s citizens appreciate access to the technical
assistance, conservation expertise and education
that Conservation Districts provide.
 Whether for wildlife habitat, timber, recreation,
aesthetics, agriculture and other uses, District
personnel help make property owners and
managers more fully aware of the complexity of
the resources they own and the relationship they
have to the land around them.
So if you hunt, fish, hike,
garden, farm, eat, or do
anything else involving
natural resources, then you
benefit from the work of
Michigan’s Conservation
• What ecological disaster brought about the creation
of Conservation Districts?
• In the beginning, Conservation Districts focused
programs on what type of land owner?
• What type of land owners are Conservation Districts
now serving?
• What is the purpose of Conservation Districts in the
local community?
Additional information about the history of Conservation
Districts and current programs can be found on the
following internet sites:
Michigan Association of Conservation Districts
National Association of Conservation Districts
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Local historical information may be found on file in the District office.
Photos courtesy of the USDA Natural
Resources Conservation Service

module 2 - Michigan Association of Conservation Districts