James River Soil & Water Conservation District
The James River Soil and Water Conservation District is a political
subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia, organized and
managed by local people assigned under Law with the
responsibility of protecting and improving our soil and water
resources. The District was established on September 26th, 1940,
and at that time included Henrico County as part of a three county
unit. In 1975, Henrico formed a single county district;
Chesterfield and Prince George remain as a two-county district.
The Board of Directors (Board), composed of six citizens of
Chesterfield and Prince George counties, directs the activities of
the District. The public elects two directors from each county and
two positions are appointed, each serving a four year term. The
current staff is composed of a District Administrator, and Education
Director, and a Conservation Specialist.
We work with the people who work the land.
What is a SWCD?
During the Dust Bowl crisis in 1935, Congress passed Public Law
74-46, recognizing that “the wastage of soil and moisture resources
on farm, grazing, and forest lands . . .is a menace to the national
welfare,” and established the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) as an
agency in the USDA. (In 1994, the name of this agency was changed
to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, indicating a
broader scope of the agency’s mission.) To supplement this effort
and to provide a local level of administration, the Standard State
Soil Conservation Districts Law was passed, providing for the
organization of “soil conservation districts” as governmental
subdivisions of States. Franklin D. Roosevelt described the program
In Virginia, Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) are
authorized through the Code of VA 10.1, Chapter 5. Districts in
Virginia are self-governed subdivisions of the State, and are
comprised of one or more localities. Each SWCD is governed by
locally elected Board of Directors, ensuring that they remain a local
influence with local people, local decision-making, and local
programs. There are over 3000 SWCDs in the U.S. covering about
98% of the country’s land area.
Districts accomplish their missions through partnerships and
leveraging of local, state and federal resources.
The District is principally supported by financial
assistance received from the Department of
Conservation and Recreation (DCR) with local
funding support from county boards of
supervisors. In partnership with local, state and
federal agencies, the District provides technical
assistance to landowners, units of government,
and others to identify, discuss and solve natural
resource conservation issues. The District plan
of work is annually re-evaluated by the Board to
ensure program effectiveness.
The District has leadership responsibilities to
promote stewardship and conservation of our
natural resources due to increasing demands by a
growing population and the needs of a rapidly
changing society. These responsibilities are met
through outreach, education, training,
technical assistance and conservation planning.
The objective is to recognize and implement
best management practices and stewardship of
land and water. The goals and objectives resulted
from the strategic planning process and will
guide us into the future. These goals identify
present and future needs of the District and will
help us meet the challenging goals of natural
resource conservation in Chesterfield and Prince