Bartholomew County

     Soil & Water

     Conservation District

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 Who We Are & What We Do

Who We Are

The district is a governmental subdivision of the state. It is governed by five supervisors, each a resident of the county, three elected and two appointed. The district receives its statutory authority from Indiana District Law. (IC: 14-32-5-1).

What We Do

Provide the public information about soil, water and related natural resource conservation; identify and prioritize local soil and water resource concerns; and connect land users to sources of education, technical and financial assistance to implement conservation practices and technologies.

Mission Statement

The Bartholomew County Soil and Water Conservation District provides quality assistance and education empowering the citizens of Bartholomew County to conserve and protect natural resources.

Outdoor_Lab Bees St_Peters_Lutheran_Church

SWCD History

The purpose of a soil and water conservation district is to provide information about soil, water and related natural resource conservation; to identify and prioritize local soil and water resources concerns; and connect land users to sources of educational, technical and financial assistance. While implementing these conservation practices and technologies to address the concerns identified, each district serves as a means for all interested people in a county to work together for natural resource conservation and development.

(Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS)

In the early 1930s, along with the greatest depression this nation ever experienced, came an unparalleled ecological disaster known as the Dust Bowl. Following a severe and sustained drought in the Great Plains, the region's soil began to blow away; creating huge, black dust storms that blotted out the sun and swallowed the countryside. Thousands of farmers left this desolate scene to find a better place to live and work. 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. Since about 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.

When the idea of soil conservation was first proposed, the majority of the American public lived in rural settings. Today there are more urban than rural. Across the United States, nearly 3000 conservation districts -- almost one in every county -- are helping local people to conserve land, water, forests, wildlife and related natural resources. More than 15,000 individuals serve in elected or appointed positions on conservation districts' governing boards. They work directly with more than 2.3 million cooperating land managers nationwide, and their efforts touch more than 778 million acres of private land.

The district of today is far different from the one that our parents were involved with more than forty years ago. They have an office with an office manager, computers, and the latest in technical support. This infrastructure is in place to support a complex array of programs not imagined in the beginning. Many are finding that the urban sector’s needs: construction site erosion, storm water runoff, and land use planning, to name a few, are more challenging and time consuming than those of the rural cooperators. Rural agriculture cooperators are faced with continued concern about erosion, with it being focused on off-site water quality more than lower production due to soil loss. As each district grows and changes to accommodate these needs, the district’s board of supervisors will need to look ahead to be prepared to meet these needs.

For those of you who find conservation of our natural resources of interest, districts are continually looking for persons willing and qualified to serve as supervisors. Also, they are always in need of volunteers willing to support the conservation cause as associates, committee members, or the many other opportunities that today’s districts offer. If you are interested contact your local district office for more information.