Conservation Corner


Submitted by Tokina McHarry, Education Coordinator, James River SCD

As I sit at my desk, listening to the wind howl and hearing the dust/dirt pepper the windows, I can’t help but think of Soil Conservation Districts around the state and nation and why they were formed back in the early part of the twentieth century.

Soil Conservation Districts operate and provide services in every county in North Dakota and in nearly every county across the nation. Our origins date back to the Dust Bowl Years of the 1930s when Congress—in response to the widespread damage caused by the loss of our nation’s top­soil—passed the Soil Conservation Act. This Act created for the first time a national program to control and prevent soil erosion and led to the birth of soil conservation districts—independent units of state government responsible for carry­ing out natural resource protection programs at the local level.


Today there are more than 3,000 soil con­servation districts in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. District responsi­bilities have evolved over the last half century as our land use patterns have changed and the importance of addressing the environmental impacts of development activities and nutri­ent pollution in our waterways has come to light. We work with farmers, landowners and other organizations to place conservation practices where they are needed most—on the farm fields, pastures, farmsteads, and along roadways and river corridors.


Each soil conservation district functions independently under a local five-mem­ber Board of supervisors. This ensures that local natural resource issues are addressed. We even welcome advisory members to join our meetings. Not only does this help people decide if serving as an official board supervisor is a future step for them, but it also helps us get a well-rounded perspective of resource concerns in our county.


Your local District, the James River Soil Conservation District, does more than just plant trees. We offer various options for equipment rental. We offer free technical assistance for planning tree plantings or grass mixes. We also have a very extensive education program. Starting in kindergarten, we try to reach as many classrooms as we can each year with a conservation message. We also offer adult programming – from pasture tours and field days to ladies ag events and gardening ideas. And our education program is always changing and growing as needs and ideas come about.


As you can probably tell if you have read this far, the James River Soil Conservation District plays a very important and unique role for rural as well as urban residents of Dickey County. We appreciate the support of the surrounding area at our events. And we hope to continue serving Dickey County as best as we are able in the future! Please check out our website,, and our Facebook page for the latest news and happenings.


Dates to remember:

December 6 –SCD Board meeting, 8 am, Fireside restaurant (this is MONDAY, not Wednesday)

December 24 – Office closed

December 31 – Office closed

For more information contact the James River Soil Conservation District and Ellendale NRCS office at 349-3653 ext. 3, or stop by our field office located in Ellendale at 51 N 1st Street.  Also, remember to visit our websites for more information – and The USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.