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Carver Soil & Water
Conservation District
11360 Highway 212, Suite 6
Cologne, MN 55322

P: (952) 466-5230

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History of the SWCD

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SWCD Organizing Committee
1946 Organization Committee:  Harold Smith, Rudolph Siewart,
            Walter Zimmerman, Jacob Bongard, Harley Cederstrom,
            Norman Nellen, Manfred Schrupp, Arthur Ottinger,
            Tom Murphy, Walter Lobitz, Dick Lyman

In the early 1930s, along with the greatest depression this nation ever experienced, came an equally unparalleled ecological disaster known as the Dust Bowl. Following a severe and sustained drought in the Great Plains, the region's soil began to erode and blow away, creating huge black dust storms that blotted out the sun and swallowed the countryside. Thousands of "dust refugees" left the black fog to seek better lives.

But the storms stretched across the nation. They reached south to Texas and east to New York. Dust even sifted into the White House and onto the desk of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

On Capitol Hill, while testifying about the erosion problem, soil scientist Hugh Hammond Bennett threw back the curtains to reveal a sky blackened by dust.

Congress unanimously passed legislation declaring soil and water conservation a national policy and priority. Since about three-fourths of the continental United States is privately owned, Congress realized that only active, voluntary support from landowners would guarantee the success of conservation work on private land.  On April 27, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Soil Conservation Act of 1935, which established the Soil Conservation Service (since renamed Natural Resources Conservation Service) within USDA. This resolution called for states to become the conduit for soil and water conservation assistance from USDA to land users, through enactment of a law establishing a state soil conservation agency and procedures whereby local soil and water conservation districts could be organized.

In 1937, President Roosevelt wrote the governors of all the states recommending legislation that would allow local landowners to form soil conservation districts.

The Carver Soil & Water Conservation District was formed on November 12, 1946 to help heal the scars to the land from the turbulent 1930s.  Local Carver County farmers made up the organization committee (picture on right). The Soil & Water Conservation District is a legal subdivision of the State of Minnesota, operating under a charter issued by the Secretary of State.  Minnesota currently has 88 SWCDs, which are governed by a Board of five elected Supervisors. SWCDs receive their authority from Chapter 103C of Minnesota Statutes.

Carver SWCD first Board of Supervisors, L to R:
Manfred Schrupp, Walter Zimmerman, Norman Nellen,
Arthur Ottinger, Walter Lobitz

Want more information about the Carver SWCD? 
Call (952) 466-5230 or email Felicia Brockoff.


Partner Links:

Minnesota Association of Soil & Water Conservation District's (MASWCD)
Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources (BWSR)
Minnesota Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)