As successful Hillsborough county businessman, Mike wants to use the lessons learned in the Boardroom and apply those marketing and training principles to our shared since of pride in our Ecosystem.
What is the Soil and Water District About
What Are Soil and Water Conservation Districts
What is a Soil and Water Conservation District? Across the United States, nearly 3,000 conservation districts - almost one in every county - are helping local people to conserve land, water, forests, wildlife and related natural resources.
Conservation Districts were originally formed during the days of the Dust Bowl to combat the severe erosion problems caused by intense farming practices. Since that time, SWCDs have adapted to provide local assistance on a broad array of natural resource issues. They are local units of state government, established to carry out programs for conservation (the wise use of natural resources) for current and future generations.
Soil and Water Conservation District Partnerships
The partnership among conservation districts, state and federal agencies and other groups are dedicated to working together for natural resource conservation, and delivery of programs designed to assist private landowners achieve their land management objectives. These districts all share a single mission: to coordinate assistance from all available sources -- public and private, local, state and federal -- in an effort to develop locally driven solutions to natural resource concerns such as:
implement farm conservation practices to keep soil in the fields and out of waterways;
conserve and restore wetlands, which purify water and provide habitat for birds, fish and numerous other animals.
protect groundwater resources;
plant trees and other land cover to hold soil in place, clean the air, provide cover for wildlife and beautify neighborhoods;
help developers and homeowners manage the land in an environmentally sensitive manner; and
reach out to communities and schools to teach the value of natural resources and encourage conservation efforts.
Soil health is also a critical feature on the 575 million acres of public and private grazing lands nationwide. These lands are vital to the economic and environmental well-being of America, and the livestock raised on these lands provide protein to people around the world. If sustainably managed, grazing and rangelands can also help protect and enhance habitat for a diverse array of wildlife. Today’s grazing practices maintain and improve the health of rangeland soils while also allowing producers to meet the nation’s need for food and fiber.
According to the National Water Quality Inventory, 70 percent of lakes, reservoirs, and ponds; 78 percent of bays and estuaries; and 55 percent of rivers and streams assessed in the U.S. are impaired by pollution and do not meet minimum water quality standards. The leading causes of river and stream impairments are pathogens, sediments, and nutrients; and the top probable source of these impairments is agriculture. Other waterbodies are impaired due to mercury pollution or Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), and often, the probable cause of impairment is unknown.
To address impairments linked to stormwater runoff, conservation districts across the nation have engaged in state stormwater management programs and begun providing urban erosion and sediment control services. They also provide assistance to developers and operators of smaller MS4s and promote the use of “low impact development” practices designed to improve water quality and stormwater management.
Structure of SWCD
Florida has fifty-eight SWCDs, each of which is self-governed by a board composed of locally elected supervisors. Candidates for the SWCD boards are elected in a general election to a four-year term. Vacancies are filled by appointment by the remaining supervisors until the next regular election. Supervisors conduct studies, surveys, and research relating to soil and water. Also, they conduct projects for conservation, protection, and restoration of soil and water sources, including agricultural best management practice demonstration projects (Chapter 582, Florida Statutes, Section 582.20).
Associations of Conservation Districts
The Association of Florida Conservation Districts and the National Association of Conservation Districts assist and coordinate SWCDs with natural resource endeavors. These non-profit agencies act as a unified voice and liaison to represent Districts to State and Federal Agencies and to outside organization.