Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Governor Riley proclaims soil and water conservation week

On August 28, 2009, Governor Bob Riley signed a proclamation declaring the week of September 14, 2009 through September 19, 2009 as soil and water conservation week. Due to the signing of this proclamation I thought it would be a good time to provide a little background history as to how and why the soil and water conservation district's were formed. In 1933 the United States Department of the Interior created the Soil Erosion Services as a temporary division to deal with the widespread erosion and environmental problems such as the dust bowl. By 1935 there were 13 soil conservation camps in operation in Alabama and 3 conservation demonstration projects. Due to the increased demand for additional conservation services Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation creating the Soil Conservation Service which was the first soil conservation act in the history of the country. In 1937 President Roosevelt sent the Standard State Conservation Districts Law to the governor of each state, urging each state to pass enabling legislation that would allow the state to form local conservation districts. In 1939 Governor Frank Dixon signed the law creating the Alabama State Soil and Water Committee and authorized the formation of local soil and water conservation districts. There are currently more than 15,000 soil and water district supervisors directing the affairs of nearly 3,000 conservation districts across America with Alabama having 335 supervisors and 67 districts. The soil and water conservation districts are the only local unit of government charged with the responsibility of conserving Alabama's resources. The soil and water conservation district's mission is to put each acre of land in Alabama to use for which it is best suited, stop any form of soil deterioration, increase soil productivity, protect and conserve our precious water supply, and plan and implement the reforestation and replanting of the acres of countryside.

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