Conservation District History
In the early 1930s, along with the greatest depression this nation ever experienced, came an equally unparalleled ecological disaster known as the Dust Bowl. Following a severe and sustained drought in the Great Plains, the region's soil began to erode and blow away, creating huge black dust storms that blotted out the sun and swallowed the countryside. Thousands of “dust refugees” left the black fog to seek better lives.
But the storms stretched across the nation. They reached south to Texas and east to New York. Dust even sifted into the White House and onto the desk of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
On Capitol Hill, while testifying about the erosion problem, soil scientist Hugh Hammond Bennett threw back the curtains to reveal a sky blackened by dust. Congress unanimously passed legislation declaring soil and water conservation a national policy and priority. Because nearly three-fourths of the continental United States is privately owned, Congress realized that only active, voluntary support from landowners would guarantee the success of conservation work on private land.
In 1937, President Roosevelt wrote the governors of all the states recommending legislation that would allow local landowners to form soil conservation districts. Brown Creek Soil & Water Conservation District in North Carolina was the first district established. The movement caught on across the country with district-enabling legislation passed in every state. Today, the country is blanketed with nearly 3,000 conservation districts.
Conservation districts are local governments at work and their specific responsibility is management of our soil and water resources. The idea behind their formation is to keep decision making on soil and water conservation matters at the local level. Each district is governed by a board of five directors who serve without pay. Two directors are appointed by the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission and three are elected by resident landowners.
To manage and protect our water and land resources for the health, safety, and economic benefit of future generations while meeting the needs of today and the future. The Sharp County Conservation District was organized to serve Sharp County by recognizing the needs and objectives of landowners and assisting them to meet those objectives. The District provides assistance in this process by coordinating the services of various state and federal agencies. The District provides assistance for implementing programs for the conservation of soil, water and other natural resources within the county.
Spring River, Hardy, Arkansas