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The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) was created in 1939, by the Texas Legislature to organize the state into soil conservation districts (now known as soil and water conservation districts) where there was a need expressed by local landowners. The TSSWCB was also designed to serve as the state-level administrative agency for local soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) once the districts were organized.
Today, there are 216 SWCDs organized across the state. Each district is an independent political subdivision of state government that is governed by five directors elected by landowners in the district. The TSSWCB provides assistance to the districts through field representatives that meet regularly with districts, through TSSWCB regional offices and through programs administered by the TSSWCB.
Conservation Assistance (Matching Funds Program)
In 1969, the 61st session of the Texas Legislature initiated a program through which funds are appropriated to the TSSWCB for allocation to SWCDs on a matching basis. To receive money under this program, a district must raise funds from sources other than State funds or earnings from State funds.
Since 1984, the Texas Legislature has appropriated funds annually to the TSSWCB for the purpose of assisting SWCDs in their efforts to provide technical assistance to agricultural producers.
This grant may be used to pay technical employees for performing the duties of an SWCD soil conservation technician. An SWCD soil conservation technician for an SWCD works with owners and operators of agricultural or other lands on the installation and maintenance of various conservation practices.
SWCD Agricultural Water Conservation
In 1985, the Texas Legislature amended Chapter 201 of the Agriculture Code to create the SubChapter H, Technical Assistance Program for Soil and Water Conservation Land Improvement Measures. Sub-Chapter H Technical Assistance provided additional funds to qualified SWCDs to assist in their efforts to provide technical assistance to agricultural producers. Subchapter H funds were appropriated to the TSSWCB from the Agricultural Soil and Water Conservation Account No. 563. Senate Bill 1053 enacted by the 78th Legislature moved the money that funded Account No. 563 to the TWDB. Account No. 563 no longer exists and funding for what was Subchapter H grants now comes from the TWDB in the form of competitive agricultural water conservation grants. The TSSWCB, on behalf of local soil and water conservation districts, now applies to the TWDB for grant funding to continue the water conservation program previously supported by the Subchapter H Program. Soil and water conservation districts provide technical and planning assistance to agricultural producers for implementing conservation best management practices on their farms and ranches.
Here are the final reports from the Agricultural Water Conservation Grant Program:
Other Water Conservation Resources
- Water Conservation Best Management Practices Guide for Agriculture in Texas (PDF, 1.72 MB)
- An Assessment of Water Conservation in Texas, Prepared for the 80th Texas Legislature (December 2006) (PDF, 1.4 MB)
- An Assessment of Water Conservation in Texas, Report to 82nd Legislature (March 2012) (PDF, 2.08 MB)
SWCD Program Specialists (TSSWCB Field Representatives)
Field Representatives meet with districts at monthly meetings, providing SWCDs advice and consultation on various state and federal laws applicable to all districts and provide general leadership on conservation programs available through the district program.
SWCDs are furnished assistance in such areas as the Texas Open Meetings Act, the Texas Open Records Act, audits and financial reporting, wage and hour laws, and assistance in coordinating programs carried out in neighboring districts.
TSSWCB Regional Offices
The TSSWCB Regional Offices' primary effort involves providing assistance to SWCDs in the implementation of the Water Quality Management Plan Program. These offices also work to establish and promote effective working relationships with other agencies.
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