Have you ever wondered what
the Oxford County Soil and Water Conservation
District is or what the
people working for it do?
Oxford County Soil & Water Conservation District (OCSWCD) is one of 16 districts
in Maine that help people conserve land, water, and forests. While each
district has different focuses, we are united by a single goal: to assist
locally-led conservation. We work with local stakeholders to identify local
natural resource conservation problems, develop solutions, and assist in
applying the solutions to the land.
Soil and Water
Conservation Districts arose as a result of the environmental disaster of the
1930ís known as the Dust Bowl. This event brought the nationís attention to the
fact that soil is not a renewable resource as it takes approximately 100 years
for only 1 inch of topsoil to form. During the 1930ís, farmers were losing about
3 to 5 inches of topsoil per year. As this life-giving soil rained down on
Washington D.C. there was a federal call to action by soil scientist Hugh
Hammond Bennett to create laws to provided the basis for local conservation
districts. Maine joined in by ratifying the authorizing legislation in 1941.
Today, we are losing topsoil to erosion at the rate of about 5 tons per acre a
year, or about the thickness of a dime. The function of conservation districts
was, and still is, to address the needs within the district for maintaining or
improving soil and water quality.
Besides local people,
we work with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Natural
Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and other state and federal agencies. We
are funded by state and county sources, private donations, and state and federal
grants, and are governed by a volunteer Board of Supervisors. While we are a state agency,
we operate more like a non-profit organization and we do not enforce any