Happy Michigan Conservation District Day!

If you’re new here, let me tell you a bit about us. Our mission is to promote conservation locally and we are led by an elected board of Clinton County residents. The Clinton Soil Conservation District was officially founded in 1954 by a group of local farmers passionate about conservation and wanting to make sure federal dollars for conservation were spent in their county too. 

Original Board of Directors – 1954
Watershed meeting – 1958

Federal dollars for conservation? What does that mean and why wouldn’t they have been spent here too?

The Soil Conservation Service was established by Congress in 1935 as an answer the wind erosion catastrophe better known as the Dust Bowl, but agency, money was often not spent on projects that local farmers thought useful to their area. Local conservation districts were established as a way for local people to help determine what types of conservation projects federal money should be spent on locally.

The Clinton Soil Conservation District’s early years worked on farm drainage projects to make fertile lands for crop production available for longer growing seasons.  Managing water on farm fields through tile drainage helped reduce farm field runoff and sedimentation of local waterways.

As time went on, the conservation district in Clinton County expanded the types of conservation practices that they worked on. Many of these practices are still promoted today by the District including no-till practices and compaction issues. (Read more in this article from 1979 on Clinton CD’s field day on no-till farming!)

Today, the Clinton Conservation District (renamed in the 90s to better represent the scope of work we do) still works one-on-one with farmers to spend federal dollars on locally important conservation projects. We also provide services such as on-farm sustainability planning through MAEAP, watershed planning, invasive species identification and treatment options, local habitat enhancement and creation projects, and much more. The Clinton Conservation District is thankful to have so many amazing partner organizations and supportive landowners that help complete the work that those original farmers set out to do in our county. 

Declaration of the first Michigan Conservation District Day is important in recognizing our own conservation district and also conservation districts statewide. More than 70 conservation districts exist in Michigan, one in almost every county! We have all adapted from our original form over the years to better serve the residents in our counties, but we all were founded with the same guiding principles. Local conservation led by Local people.

Happy Christmas in July, I mean, Conservation Day in July!

Kelcie Sweeney, Executive Director