History and Services


What are Soil and Water Conservation Districts?

Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) exist in every county of the United States. They are legally defined as subdivisions of State government, but they function as local units. There are 45 Oregon SWCDs putting conservation on the ground. The results are cleaner water; more productive crop, pasture, and forest lands; and vibrant wildlife habitat.


History of the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District:

The 1930s brought an ecological disaster known as the “Dust Bowl”. Huge black dust storms blotted out the sun and swallowed the countryside. The U.S. Congress immediately declared soil and water conservation a national policy and priority. The idea for soil and water conservation districts was born. Today there are almost 3000 SWCD’s- one in almost every county (if you live in Jefferson County, the Jefferson County SWCD can help you). Each SWCD is designed to serve the conservation needs of that county, educate and help its local citizens conserve land, water, forests, wildlife and other natural resources.

A group of cooperators in the Trout Creek area applied to the State Soil Conservation Committee in 1957 to establish a Soil conservation District (SCD.) Application was for the benefit of local landowners and cooperators. There were approximately 82 farms and 49a cooperators. Thirty six had farm plans. Over time, Trout Creek increased their District as six more landowner/cooperators signed on with the District.

Trout Creek Soil Conservation District continued with plans to establish a working Conservation District. Although geographically isolated, they worked closely with the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and North Unit Irrigation District to accomplish more for the area than could be accomplished as individuals.

In 1961 an application presented to the State for establishment of a West Jefferson County Soil Conservation District was successful. Thirty nine cooperators signed the petition.

By 1974, conservation needs continued to increase county wide. A committee formed dto study the feasibility of a single county Conservation District. The State granted a reorganization and combining of Trout Creek SCD and West Jefferson SCD into Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District has been assisting local landowners with technical, financial and advisory expertise since 1974 after merging with Trout Creek SWCD which was established in 1957.


  • NOT a Federal, County, State or City Agency. We ARE a Special Purpose district, and are similar in many ways to a fire control district. NOT a Regulatory or Enforcement Agency.
  • NOT an environmental activist group. Administered by the volunteer efforts of local landowners and citizens selected in the General Elections to serve on the Board of Directors. Authorized to provide assistance to all county farmers, ranchers and citizens upon request. Committed to serving all members of the community regardless of gender, race, ethnic background or national origin.


  • Provides technical assistance to landowners to implement conservation measures to protect natural resources in the Tualatin River Watershed, solve their individual problems, and meet their objectives.
  • Provides technical assistance to county and city governments on problems involving erosion control, irrigation, manure management, invasive species, wildlife habitat, stream functioning, and other natural resource issues.
  • Conducts research and assessments to identify problems and solutions to protect the environment, economy, and communities.
  • Works with local agencies and groups to address watershed-wide natural resource concerns and opportunities.
  • Educates residents through public speaking, workshops, printed materials, and public media.
  • Brings federal, state, and private dollars to Washington County to assist landowners with implementation costs and technical assistance.

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