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Soil and Water Conservation District


Conservation Planning

Locally-Led Conservation

The Soil and Water Conservation Program is based on cooperation rather than regulation of agricultural land users.  Cooperators are land users who pursue their District-approved conservation plan.

The Hawaii County grading ordinance delegates responsibility to the island’s soil and water conservation districts to review and approve conservation plans on agricultural lands.  The County ordinance grants exemptions to the grading ordinance for all farmers and ranchers with approved plans.  In other words, land users who have an approved conservation plan from the District do not have to seek a county grading permit for any grading or grubbing work.

In addition, land users with approved conservation plans are eligible for cost-share funding programs through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Becoming a Cooperator
1. Land user fills out application packet from District, including cooperative agreement, and mails or drops it off at District office.

2. At a regularly-scheduled monthly Board meeting, the District Board accepts (or rejects) land user as cooperator for a five-year period.  If the District Board rejects a land user’s application, it will provide sufficient explanation and/or assistance to the land user to render the application acceptable.

3. Land user works with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop a conservation plan for his/her property.

4. The District Board approves the conservation plan at a regularly-scheduled monthly Board meeting.

5. Land user implements the conservation plan.

Cooperator of the Year Award

Every year, a local farmer and/or rancher is honored for outstanding achievement in implementing his or her conservation plan resulting in exceptional land stewardship.