What is a Conservation District?

How Conservation Districts Work

All Conservation Districts in Iowa are managed by five commissioners elected on the general ballot in each county. Each of the five commissioners serve four-year terms and only one commissioner may reside in any single township. With assistance from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship-Division of Soil Conservation, commissioners address the natural resource issues that are most critical in their districts.

Conservation Districts' Role

Soil and water conservation districts are legal subdivisions of state government. Commissioners are responsible for carrying out state laws and programs within district boundaries. These include:

  • sediment control law
  • conservation cost-sharing
  • conservation revolving loan funds
  • water quality protection projects
  • resource enhancement and protection

Districts also play a key role in carrying out federal programs including,
but not limited to:

  • the Conservation Reserve Program
  • Conservation Compliance
  • the Environmental Quality Incentives Program
  • Conservation Compliance
  • the Wetlands Reserve Program
  • conservation planning

Districts serve as local sponsors for watershed projects, resource conservation and development areas, and soil surveys as well.