Department History

Soil Conservation District

Wisconsin's Soil Conservation District was enacted in 1937 as Chapter 92 of the state statutes. This enabled the state to receive technical assistance from the federal Soil Conservation Service. Most of Wisconsin's counties formed conservation districts through the 1940s and 1950s.

The districts remained in place until Chapter 92 was revised. Wisconsin's policy makers wanted to improve the capability of county government to administer conservation programs and establish links among all county departments involved in natural resource protection.

Land Conservation Committee

In 1982, the conservation districts were abolished and their authority was transferred to the newly created Land Conservation Committee (LCC). The LCC is a potent force for conservation because unlike conservation districts, the LCC is part of the county board, and also possesses legislative authority.

The primary role of the LCC is create and implement their own county conservation programs. Most choose to implement state and federal conservation programs as well. The Land and Water Conservation Department (LWCD) was created to advise the LCC, administer policies, prepare the budget and work plans, and provide technical assistance.

Most LWCD staff are county employees and most members of the LCC have a direct role in hiring the LWCD staff to implement their programs. Although the LCC and LWCD have individual responsibilities, they function together with a common purpose of conserving the county's natural resources.