Teton Conservation District

The mission of the Teton Conservation District is to promote conservation and management of natural resources  -- air, land, water, vegetation, and wildlife -- through watershed-based research, education, conservation practices, cooperative projects, and on-the-ground actions to ensure the health, safety and general welfare of the people and resources of this area.

Within the Teton Conservation District’s mission, the importance of community education and information is emphasized.  The District believes that information about conservation issues is vital to the well-being of the community and its resources.  It is implicitly recognized that information and education are support activities that are elemental to the successful attainment of our goals.

TCD provides services and programs as authorized by Wyoming State Statute 11-16-122 and is funded by a publicly approved mill levy, partnering funds and resources, and project grant funds. The TCD five member publicly elected Board of Supervisors provides fiscal and program policy oversight and direction as well as directly participates in TCD activities and programs.

TCD staff implements District programs and report to the Board of Supervisors on a monthly basis. TCD is a member of the 34 conservation districts in the state that comprise the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts and works cooperatively with numerous federal, state, and local agencies. We are a "sister agency" to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), which is located within the same office here in Jackson.

It is the FUNCTION of the Teton Conservation District to provide locally led leadership, to encourage, promote and inform through education, the conservation of natural resources.  The Teton Conservation District is also charged with assisting landowners and land managers in practicing good natural resource stewardship and conservation for the long term benefit of the people by using monitoring, partnerships, staffing resources, and the taxpayer’s money as efficiently and effectively as possible.

The PRINCIPLES guiding the Teton Conservation District are to; hold the sacred trust of the public, respect conflict civilly pursued and is non-politically based.  Projects are pursued and completed in an accountable manner, using the most economical methods.  Partnerships between the Teton Conservation District and individuals and organizations are formed.  Technical support is provided using the best methods available.  The Teton Conservation District stays current with developments that assist in its ongoing commitment to its mission.

History

During the Dust Bowl days, it became very apparent that there was a need to conserve our soil and water resources in rural America.  The President requested that all states pass legislation authorizing local conservation districts to be formed.  Congress passed the Soil Conservation Act in 1935.  As local units of state government, the Districts were designed to direct programs aimed at protecting local resources.  The first district was formed in 1937.  Today there are about 3,000 districts working across America.

Wyoming passed the Soil Conservation Act in 1941.  Districts started forming later that year.  There are now 34 Districts throughout Wyoming. Each of these districts has specific boundaries, are governed by 5 locally elected individuals who live within those boundaries, and operate with the focus that conservation should be led by local citizens.  Their responsibility is to conserve our soil, water and other natural resources.

The Teton Conservation District was legally organized on March 15, 1946 at the request of County citizens, under Sections 11-234 to 11-250 of the Wyoming Statutes known as the “Wyoming Soil and Water Conservation Districts Law.”  The District was organized to provide for the conservation of soil and water resources, assist in watershed protection, protect public lands, preserve tax base and to protect and promote the health, safety, and general welfare of the people.  The District was originally divided into two Districts – the Teton Soil Conservation District and the Jackson Hole Soil Conservation District.  The latter included lands in Lincoln and Sublette Counties.  The Jackson Hole District was dissolved in 1967, leaving what is now called the Teton Conservation District.  In 1974, our District boundaries were expanded to include Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks as well as all lands lying within Teton County.  This decision was approved by Wyoming Secretary of State Thyra Thompson.  Conservation District Boards are the only elected Boards that are charged with the proper management of Wyoming’s natural resources.

As a legal subdivision of Wyoming State government, the District Board of Supervisors constitutes a policy-making group elected by the people on the general election ballot.  Five Supervisors, each serving a two-year term, perform their duties without compensation.  The Supervisors work with all individuals, groups, and agencies interested in soil and water conservation, land use planning, watershed protection, flood prevention, and other related interests and endeavors.

Conservation Districts develop and implement programs to protect and conserve soil, water, prime & unique farmland, rangeland, woodland, wildlife and other renewable resources.  Districts also stabilize local economies and resolve conflicts in land use.