Header image  

Soil and Water Conservation District


Conservation Districts

Soil and Water Conservation Program

The U.S. Soil and Water Conservation Act of 1935 provided the legal basis for states to form local soil and water conservation districts and enable local communities to take positive action to collectively protect our nation’s soil and water resources.  Currently, there are nearly 3,000 local districts established throughout the Nation to promote local efforts to install the Best Management Practices (BMPs) to prevent erosion and water pollution from agricultural, forestry, and urban activities. 

There are 16 soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) in Hawaii.  The districts are self-governing sub-units of State government.  The majority of the districts were organized between 1948 and 1957, though expansion continued until 1990.

Since 1967, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has provided the State’s SWCD program with administrative and funding support.  Each district is managed by five directors who volunteer their time to assist land users with implementation of resource conservation plans.  To implement the district programs, the districts enlist assistance from other government agencies, as authorized by Chapter 180 HRS.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides expertise and staffing to districts.  The University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service (CES) and State Department of Health (DOH) also provide technical assistance.  Other support is obtained from the counties for the implementation of the grading ordinances.