In origin, conservation districts are dust bowl-dirt farmer entities, first created by local citizens in 1937 to help conserve their water and soil. Now, every state in the nation is served by conservation districts border to border, each an official body created by an act of their state legislature.
Some districts focus on agricultural concerns. (ALL districts once did, as all districts were once the citizens' arm of their local U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service office. For a history of the SCS, now known as the Natural Resources Conservation Service, follow this link .)
Other districts focus on water quality or quantity, on forestry or wildlife, on environmental education, or on other related issues. All conservation districts still share one important feature. We're bottom-up, locally-led organizations.
Vermont has fourteen conservation districts, some established according to county boundaries, others according to watershed boundaries. BCCD was established in 1946 to serve all of Bennington County and its four watersheds - the Mettowee, the Batten Kill, the Hoosic, and the Deerfield. For more information on VT's other conservation districts, refer to the Vermont Association of Conservation Districts site.
These watersheds encompass some of the most culturally, economically, and ecologically significant landscapes in Vermont. The Batten Kill has attracted anglers, tourists - and Norman Rockwell! - for more than a century. The Green Mountain National Forest is home to ski areas and a long section of the Appalachian Trail. As of the last agricultural census (in 2002), there were 228 farms in the county, among them community supported agriculture operations, pick-your-owns, maple sugar makers, orchards, stables and horse breeding farms, beef operations, and, of course, dairy farms (including dairy goats).
The health of the natural world around us and the vitality of our communities are deeply connected to wild and cultivated landscapes. The Bennington County Conservation District protects them by serving those who work them and live in them.