Our Mission: To promote conservation of natural resources through leadership and education for the health and wellbeing of Dickey County.
Our Vision: Working together to protect and regenerate the natural resources of Dickey County by demonstrating, educating, and leading communities and landowners.
The James River SCD is located in Ellendale North Dakota providing educational outreach and services like tree planting and equipment rental in the Dickey County area. We are actively involved in the design and application of conservation practices that improve cropland, grazing land, forestland, and wildlife in Dickey County.
The most visible function of the district is our tree planting program. The district offers tree planting services at a low cost and help find cost-share dollars so anyone who wants trees can get them, regardless of their financial situation.
Education is a big part of our mission so as to instill better stewardship of the land amongst the community. Every year we host events as well as support conservation education outreach programs through our community. Our Education Coordinator works extensively to provide free classes and materials to students in the community.
In April of 1935, Congress passed, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Soil Conservation Act of 1935, Public Law No.46, which established the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) within the USDA. North Dakota Passed the law in 1937 making the formation of soil conservation districts possible. Farmers and landowners could then vote and create a district in their area to take advantage of tree planting initiatives and use the soil conservation equipment they provided. From this the James River Soil Conservation District was organized in 1946 by a group of local farmers and continues to this day to preserve and protect our local resources.
Once the District was formed, the supervisors secured tree planters and equipment to carry out conservation practices for farmers. This way farmers who signed an agreement with the district became cooperators and received the benefits the district could offer. One of the main projects was the development of the Oakes Nursery by locals who saw the potential of the tree planting initiative and the importance it played in reducing wind erosion. The Nursery remained in tree production under the Lincoln Oakes Nursery until 2013. It was then leased out as hay ground until the James River SCD purchased it in 2022 with the goal to develop it into an educational resource for the county and state.
"It is the policy of this state and within the scope of this chapter to provide for the conservation of the soil and soil resources of this state and for the control and prevention of soil erosion, and to preserve the state's natural resources, control floods, prevent impairment of dams and reservoirs, assist in maintaining the navigability of rivers, preserve wildlife, protect the tax base, protect public lands, and protect and promote the health, safety, and general welfare of the people of this state." - ND Century Code
The James River Soil Conservation District is comprised of five board members. Three members are elected by the general public to hold office for a term of six years. Two members are appointed yearly to serve on the board. Board members meet once a month at either 8 AM or 1 PM on the second Wednesday of each month. Meetings are usually located in the conference room of the USDA building but due to COVID restrictions, may be at other locations. They are open to the public and updated meeting information can be found under the NEWS tab.
James River SCD Board Members, back row: Perry Bollum, Keith Kronberg, Gary Dathe. Front row: Brad Sand and Ryan Forward.
Ellendale 2022 6th Grade EcoEd
The district education coordinator works extensively with local schools and teachers to provide free education sessions to classes free of charge. Every year we host an Ecology Education Tour (EcoEd) for students in our county to learn intensively about soils, water quality, wildlife, plants, and other natural resource science topics. The district also sponsors local events like Regional Envirothon, Stewardship Week for Dickey County churches, Keep ND Clean Poster Contest, and makes library book donations to the elementary students in Oakes, Ellendale and Maple River Schools. Contact our education coordinator for more information and scheduling a session.
Oakes 2022 6th Grade EcoEd
2022 Book Donation
Jim Gerholt of Remarkable Reptiles has been bringing his reptiles to EcoEd for several years and is a major highlight of the event!
The James River SCD has a $500 scholarship available for local high school seniors and college students. 2023 applications are now open! More information on the scholarship can be found HERE!!!