What is a Conservation District?
Conservation districts are local units of government established under state law to carry out natural resource management programs at the local level by providing technical assistance and tools to manage and protect land and water resources in U.S. states. There are more than 3,000 conservation districts in the United States. In Wyoming, there are 34 conservation districts in 23 counties.
Conservation districts may go by different names such as Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Soil Conservation Districts, Resource Conservation Districts, or other similar names. However, they all share a single mission: to coordinate assistance from all available sources; public and private, local, state and federal, to develop locally-driven solutions to natural resource concerns.
History of Conservation Districts
During the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s, it became clear that there was a need to conserve natural resources, specifically soil. Intensive efforts were made by state and local governments to develop adequate programs for soil conservation. However, those agencies often ended up competing with each other and local leadership was needed to coordinate their efforts as well as tie them into local conditions and priorities. In March of 1941, State Legislature passed an act to establish conservation districts in Wyoming. As subdivisions of the State of Wyoming, conservation districts were to direct programs that protected local, renewable natural resources.
The Uinta County Conservation District was organized on June 4, 1948, as the Bridger Valley Soil and Water Conservation District, in accordance with Wyoming State Law. The original District included only the eastern portion of Uinta County, however, several landowners petitioned and were included in the District. The District now includes and services all of Uinta County and the name of the District was changed to the Uinta County Conservation District in 1993.
The Uinta County Conservation District is responsible for directing conservation programs that aim to conserve the soil, water and vegetative resources within our county. This is accomplished through Conservation programs that promote sustainable use of our natural resources. Success and advances in conservation in Uinta County is due to the stewardship of the local landowners and concerned citizens of the county. Funding for programs is received through a mill levy that was passed during general election in 1988. UCCD also receives grant funding through other local, state and federal agencies and partners to get projects on the ground.
It is the mission of the Uinta County Conservation District to be a leader in NATURAL RESOURCE CONSERVATION by providing resources, education, technical assistance and information for the development and improvement of our natural resources, to promote and protect agriculture, protect the tax base and promote the health, welfare and safety of Uinta County residents.
Uinta County, Wyoming
Uinta County is located in the Southwest corner of the state of Wyoming. The current estimated population is 20,299 people. The county includes the city of Evanston (county seat) and the towns of Bear River, Lyman, and Mountain View. Carter, Fort Bridger, Lonetree, Robertson and Urie are also census-designated communities.
Uinta County was officially organized in 1896 by trappers, explorers and settlers. It was settled in 1868 by workers of the Union Pacific Railroad. The Roundhouse for the railroad still stands today. Coal mines, the railroad, fur trading, supply posts, military activities, trona mines and ranching were the primary occupations of settlers of Uinta County. More recently oil and methane exploration and development are underway, while agriculture is still a major occupation and source of income for residents.
Water in the county comes from the Bear River Water Basin and the Green River Water Basin. The largest percent of water use is by irrigation, followed by industrial and municipal water uses. There are three water storage reservoirs for the county: Stateline, Meeks Cabin and Sulfur Creek (Uinta County Profile, 2003).
For more information about Uinta County, please visit:
Land Ownership in Uinta County
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) - 36%
U.S. Forest Service - 3%
State of Wyoming - 4%
Private - 57%
Nearly 44% of Uinta County is owned and managed by state and federal land management agencies. The agencies include the BLM, Forest Service, and the State of Wyoming. Federal or public lands are designated as multi-use, meaning that they open for a variety of uses including livestock grazing, hunting, fishing, and other recreational activities.
UCCD works alongside these land management agencies when they are conducting their field studies to gain a better understanding of the conditions of the range. These agencies document conditions and collect monitoring data that can be used when renewing grazing permits, looking at potential range projects such as cross-fencing pastures and water development, and many other practices. Many livestock producers in Uinta County utilize these public lands for grazing, both here in Wyoming and in Utah.