Modern conservation districts trace their organizational lineage to Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration. FDR and soil scientist Hugh Hammond Bennett encouraged the Soil Conservation Service to create programs to alleviate the disastrous effects of the dust bowl.
FDR strongly recommended that each state adopt legislation and form local Soil Conservation Districts. Eventually, every state in the country passed the legislation and formed conservation districts. The first district formed was the Brown Creek Soil & Water Conservation District in North Carolina.
It is hereby declared to be the policy of the Commonwealth to provide for the conservation of the soil, water, and related resources of this Commonwealth, and for the control and prevention of soil erosion, and thereby to preserve natural resources; assist in the control of floods; prevent impairment of dams and reservoirs; assist in maintaining the navigability of rivers and harbors; preserve wildlife; preserve the tax base; protect public lands; and protect and promote the health, safety and general welfare of the people of the Commonwealth.
PA's first conservation districts were formed under the State Conservation District Law - Act 217. Potter County was the first district formed in the state.
The Allegheny County Soil Conservation District was formed on March 5th via a County resolution. The first meeting of the newly formed District was held on July 9th.
On October 21, 1971, the Allegheny County Conservation District received the Goodyear Award for Best Conservation District in the State!
The State of PA recognized the potential of districts ability to educate, promote, and deliver soil and water conservation programs locally. As a result the state delegated responsibility for certain programs, such as:
- Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control (102)
- Dam Safety and Waterway Management (105)
- Watershed Specialist support
- Nutrient Management Act Program (Act 38)
- Dirt and Gravel Roads program.
In 2009, the District's board of directors, staff, and concerned organizations set about to create a new strategic plan for the organization. The plan included:
- New Leadership
- Expanded, more accessible office location
- Emphasis on outreach and education
The District took great strides in fulfilling the strategic plan created in 2009. Significant changes include:
- New District Manager
- New offices location in the Southside of Pittsburgh
- Expanded administrative staff
- Process and program flow improvements
- Enhanced grant program
- Organizational emphasis on training and project development
The Conservation Solution Center was created to:
- Provide an operating platform for our Agricultural, Soil, Stormwater, and Watershed programs
- Provide technical assistance, resources, leadership, and enforcement when needed in the community
Allegheny County Conservation District celebrates 75 years with a new strategic plan and countywide accomplishments including:
- Preserving more than 4,000 acres of farmland
- Planting thousands of native trees and shrubs to stabilize streambanks
- Developing a library of digital resources