Missoula Conservation District formed in 1946 by a group of private landowners interested in conserving Missoula County's natural resources. These early conservationists: John Schroeder, Bitterroot; Lee Elliot, Clinton; Ernest Wills, Blackfoot; Allen Marcure, Frenchtown; Charles Stahl, Hellgate, organized Missoula Conservation District and formed the first Board of Supervisors.
Board of Supervisors, 1966 (left - right) Allen Marcure, Don Roth, Ernest Wills, Charles Stahl, John Schroeder
FORMATION OF CONSERVATION DISTRICTS:
In the early 1930's, along with the greatest depression the United States 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 reaching south to Texas and east to New York and Washington, D.C.
The United States Congress unanimously passed legislation declaring soil and water conservation a national policy and priority. In 1933, Congress approved creation of the Soil Erosion Service, predecessor of the Soil Conservation Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Because three-fourths of the U.S. is privately owned, Congress realized that only active, voluntary support from landowners would guarantee the success of conservation work on private land.
In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote the governors of all the states recommending legislation that would allow local landowners to form soil conservation districts. The movement caught on across the country with district-enabling legislation passed in every state. Today, there are nearly 3,000 conservation districts across the country.
Conservation districts continue to work closely and partner with NRCS across the nation, with district offices often co-located with NRCS field offices. Districts often rely heavily on NRCS to provide technical assistance and funding for project implementation to private landowners within their respective boundaries.