We serve Our Community with:
Local staff, board and funding
Common values, ethics and desires
Connections to farmers, elected officials and organizations since 1949
Inspiring individuals working together for a better whole
We encourage the wise use of Our Resources to:
Protect unique natural resources and products only found in our county
Balance decisions by considering economic impacts
Analyze science and social data, leading to
Intentional critical thinking and daily use consideration
We envision Our Future as bright by focusing on:
Innovative education and communication
Sustainable programs, funding and people
Striving to always improve service and impact
Compelling others to join our conservation efforts
At Seneca Conservation District, we believe it is our responsibility to assist the residents of Seneca County in conserving and protecting the natural resources of our local community that will inevitably make a positive impact on the larger community of the Lake Erie Watershed. Our training and expertise allows us to provide leadership to the residents of Seneca County in their efforts to make a difference for future generations. Our diverse programs provide us the opportunity to assist in the areas of farm, home and education. The staff at Seneca Conservation District is equipped to engage in all these areas to provide a sustainable future for our local community.
For more than 60 years, the Seneca Conservation District has been an advocate of conservation, working with landowners, local, state and federal agencies to maintain healthy and productive working landscapes. The current staff at Seneca Conservation District draws on the District’s long history of helping people help the land in educating our local community on how to take care of the environment. We believe our community, as stewards of the land, has a responsibility to take care of the natural resources and preserve them for future generations. We assist by providing resources and guidance to residents and businesses seeking to adopt conservation practices in order to preserve our resources.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us.” It is our goal to ensure future generations have the same access to our natural resources as we do today. We are dedicated to conserving our natural resources by using them wisely and hope to inspire the younger generation to enjoy the world around them so they will want to be good stewards of the land as well.
Seneca Conservation District History
The soil conservation movement came into existence in the United States because of a nationwide emergency in the 1930s. Improper use of farmland and overuse of pastureland teamed up with recurring drought to produce the Dust Bowl Era. Dust storms originating in the Great Plains swept across the nation, leaving ruined land, dead livestock untold human suffering and force abandonment of farms by man families. Storms sometimes carried precious topsoil thousands of miles, dumping it into the Atlantic Ocean.
With the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt as President in 1932, conservation of soil and water resources became a national priority in the New Deal administration. The National Industrial Recovery Act passed in June 1933 included funds to fight soil erosion. With this money, the Soil Erosion Service (SES) was established in the Department of Interior with Hugh Bennett as Chief in September 1933. This was the first program of its kind anywhere. SES established demonstration projects in critically eroded areas across the country to show landowners the benefits of conservation.
Perhaps no event did more to emphasize the severity of the erosion crisis in the popular imagination than the Dust Bowl. Beginning in 1932, persistent drought conditions on the Great Plains caused widespread crop failures and exposed the region’s soil to blowing wind. A large dust storm on May 11, 1934 swept fine soil particles over Washington, D.C. and three hundred miles out into the Atlantic Ocean. More intense and frequent storms swept the Plains in 1935. On March 6 and again on March 21, dust clouds passed over Washington and darkened the sky just as Congress commenced hearings on a proposed soil conservation law. Bennett seized the opportunity to explain the cause of the storms and to offer a solution. He penned editorials and testified to Congress urging for the creation of a permanent soil conservation agency. The result was the Soil Conservation Act (PL 74-46), which President Roosevelt signed on April 27, 1935, creating the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) in the USDA. The agency has switched names over the years and is now called the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).
As early as 1935 USDA managers began to search for ways to extend conservation assistance to more farmers. They believed the solution was to establish democratically organized soil conservation districts to lead the conservation planning effort at the local level. To create a framework for cooperation, USDA drafted the Standard State Soil Conservation Districts Law, which President Roosevelt sent to the governors of all the states in 1937. This language established the innovative idea of forming of soil conservation districts which would stand independently and be administered locally. The first soil conservation district was organized in the Brown Creek watershed of North Carolina on August 4, 1937 and 22 other states passed enabling legislation that same year. Today, there over three thousand conservation districts in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Pacific Territories.
Ohio legislatures passed House Bill 646 in 1941 authorizing the formation of a soil and water conservation district (SWCD) in each county. The first District established was Highland SWCD in July 1942 and the last district to organized was Lucas SWCD in December 1963. Seneca SWCD was established in 1949 when the voters of Seneca County approved a ballot issue authorizing the organization of a local SWCD. In 2014, the name Seneca Conservation District was adopted as part of a effort to increase recognition of and better represent its broad range of conservation services provided to the residents of Seneca County.
Seneca Conservation District is governed by a board of supervisors made up of five individuals who are elected by the residents of Seneca County 18 years and older. Each supervisor serves a three year term. The position of supervisor is purely voluntary. They are not compensated for their time. The Board of Supervisors serves the interests of the landowners because they are dedicated to the mission of conserving the natural resources of Seneca County.