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The purpose of a Soil and Water Conservation District is to provide information about soil, water and related natural resource conservation, identify and prioritize local soil and water resource concerns, and connect land users to sources of education and technical and financial assistance. This information enables land users to implement conservation practices and technologies. We also serve as a liaison between land users to educational, technical, and financial assistance from other local organizations and state and federal agencies.
Because each Conservation District develops its own programs to suit the needs of the people in its county, local citizens play an important role, and each district serves as a means for all interested people in a county to work together for natural resource conservation and development.
- Healthy Soils
Today, as in the past, many agricultural practices and community projects accelerate soil erosion and carry pollutants into our streams and rivers. Erosion can mean the loss of important fertile soils. Application of excessive nutrients and pesticides can turn those once productive, beneficial soils into a community problem. When the disturbed soil gets into our streams, it becomes a pollutant that deteriorates and smothers aquatic life, promotes flooding, and reduces recreational opportunities.
The locally identified soil resource concerns are:
- Soil Erosion
- Soil Quality Degradation
Added together they have the cumulative effect of making nutrients and sedimentation two of our greatest water pollutants by volume.
Consequently, the need for proper care and stabilization of our soils remains a high priority and an essential component of the District’s priorities.
- Healthy Water
Water is essential for life on Earth and plays a vital role in the proper functioning of its ecosystems. The pollution of water has a serious impact on all living creatures, and can negatively affect the use of water for drinking, household needs, recreation, fishing, transportation and commerce.
The water resource concerns identified locally are:
- Water Quality Degradation
- Excess/Insufficient Water
Did you know that there is a direct correlation between buffer strips and high-quality streams? It has been documented that, as forested buffer strips are reduced, water quality declines. Protecting, maintaining, and even creating new forested (riparian) corridors along streams is essential to protecting the vitality of our water resources, now and in the future.
Were you also aware that water pollution can be simply sediment finding its way into streams? Or it can be nitrogen and phosphorus resulting from malfunctioning septic systems, sewage treatment plants, animal manure, and lawn fertilizers which accelerate the growth of algae clogging our streams and harming aquatic life.
Human activity, as well as the forces of nature, inevitably impact the quality of the water resources that we depend on. Education and appreciation for this fundamental resource is the first step toward changing the behavior of society to realize that we all live in a watershed and we all live downstream!
- Land Use & Development
As more people discover the pleasing quality of life in Jasper County, they will put more pressure on our land, water, and ecosystems, as well as our infrastructure systems, and recreation facilities.
As more and more of our natural resources are consumed, the specific characteristics of a given piece of land become the essential clues which reveal its best use. The physical properties of a parcel as well as human needs and nearby uses all should factor into land use decisions. Planners, farmers, engineers and builders should all rely on the soil survey to identify the characteristics of soil in a given location and whether it would be suitable for uses such as farming or road construction.
Locally identified land use and development resource concerns are:
- Habitat Degradation
- Inadequate livestock water
The District’s role is to consider all resources, i.e., soil, water, air, plants, animals, and humans and to promote good resource management. This, plus providing detailed information about Jasper County’s streams, wetlands, soils, and topography continue to be of the utmost importance to encourage wise management and development of our sustainable communities, both natural and manmade.
- District Development
In order for the Jasper SWCD to carry out its strategic plan district development must be ongoing.
Locally identified district development concerns are:
- Capacity to respond/deliver
- Greater Community Involvement
- Continue to Develop the SWCD Education Center