About the Conservation District
The Chester County Conservation District - Promoting sustainable use of natural resources through educational and technical assistance.
Conserving soil for clean water.
An effective conservation program recognized for local leadership in natural resources conservation by assisting people in communities to achieve a productive county in harmony with a quality environment.
What Is A Conservation District?
Conservation districts originated from a need for conservation practices on the land after the devastation of the 1930’s Dust Bowl in the mid-section of the United States. Farming practices actually degraded the land, which was compounded by years of drought and resulting dust storms in the Midwest. The Dust Bowl not only eliminated precious topsoil, but also damaged if not destroyed, a generation of families tied to agriculture as a way of life. Agricultural leaders, determined to never let this happen again to human lives and the land, created volunteer organizations of farmers called Conservation Districts whose mission was to educate other farmers on soil conservation and best management practices.
Since its creation in 1947, the Chester County Conservation District has worked with landowners and land users to conserve the natural resources of the County. Today, the District assists builders, contractors, developers, farmers, and local citizens in developing and implementing conservation programs. With the District’s assistance and direction, citizens are brought together with local, state and federal agencies to design creative solutions to a wide range of conservation and non-point source pollution issues.
The Chester County Conservation District is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of PA. Funding sources for the Conservation District are the following: County of Chester, PA state government, USDA NRCS, EPA cost-share programs, public and private grants, and erosion and sediment control review fees for developers.The Conservation District operates under both state and county guidelines and requirements. PA Act 217 Conservation Law enables all counties to establish a Conservation District within their respective boundaries. Conservation District Directors are volunteers and are required to be selected from a list provided by nominating organizations approved by the PA State Conservation Commission. From that list the Chester County Commissioners appoint a director(s). Chester County Conservation District is currently approved to have directors in the following categories: 4 farmer directors, 2 public directors, and 1 county commissioner. Any changes to the composition of the District Board require approval from the State Conservation Commission.
District Functions & Responsibility
In turn, the District then reports back to both the State Conservation Commission and the County Commissioners. The Conservation District has delegated or contracted responsibilities for but not limited to: Chapter 102 Erosion and Sediment Control and NPDES Permitting Program including Post Construction Stormwater (PADEP), Dirt and Gravel Roads Program (State Conservation Commission), Agricultural Conservation Planning and BMP Implementation (PADEP.PDA, NRCS, CCALPB, EPA), Mushroom Farm Environmental Planning and Implementation (PADEP), Watershed Specialist duties (PADEP), and Agricultural Nutrient Management Review and Implementation (PADEP, PDA).
Compliance & Regulations
The Conservation District seeks voluntary compliance to regulations and laws. If the District feels that voluntary conservation compliance is not achieved, then the case is referred to the appropriate regulatory agency that does have the enforcement power. Currently, all Chester County Conservation District staff are Chester County employees. The Conservation District reimburses the County quarterly for all technical staff, most of the support staff, and a percentage of the District Manager positions.
** Read about the Conservation District Law