SWEETWATER COUNTY CONSERVATION DISTRICT
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: When is the 2009 tree sale order form due?

A: The 2009 tree sale order form is due March 15th, 2009. We recommend getting your orders in as early as possible as some trees are pre-ordered and only limited numbers are available. Please see the Program page for more information about our seedling tree program.


Q: What is a Conservation District?

A: Conservation Districts are democracy in action. A Conservation District is a legal subdivision of the State, organized under the Wyoming Conservation Districts Law. They are organized by a vote of the people within the district and are managed by a Board of (five) Supervisors. These Supervisors are local residents who serve voluntarily, without pay. All are elected by the local citizens and by statute: three are rural, one member is urban and one at-large. Supervisors serve staggered 4-year terms to improve the stability and consistency between elections for conservation district programs. Supervisors may come from many different occupations, but by law all Supervisors must be residents of Wyoming.(As well, all Board members must reside within the same county boundaries in which they are elected to serve.)

District Supervisors have a unique role among agencies managing Wyoming?s natural resources. Serving as the grassroots representatives of the landowners and general public in their communities, they provide leadership and direction in resource conservation, development, and implementation of programs.

Conservation Districts develop and implement programs to protect and conserve soil, water, prime and unique farmland, rangeland, woodland, wildlife, energy, and other renewable resources on non-federal lands. Districts also stabilize local economies and resolve conflicts in land use. The MISSION of Wyoming Conservation Districts is to provide leadership for the conservation of Wyoming?s soil and water, protect the agricultural resource base, promote the control of soil erosion, promote and protect the quality and quantity of Wyoming's water, provide assistance to reduce the siltation of stream channels and reservoirs, promote wise use of Wyoming?s natural resources, preserve and enhance wildlife habitat, protect the tax base and promote the health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of this state through a responsible conservation ethic.

Nationally, conservation districts usually operate under the following general policies:

  • Conservation should be led by local citizens.
  • The final responsibility for conservation lies with the landowner.
  • Landowners have legitimate operating goals.
  • Conservation Districts are responsive to both landowners and operators, and the community as a whole.
  • The best agricultural land should be maintained for agriculture.

A Conservation District cannot levy taxes and does not have the right of eminent domain. The district may request monies and operation maintenance of the district from the State Legislature through the Wyoming Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Budget or from a special levy not to exceed one mil.

The District can own property, accept donations, sue and be sued, raise funds as profit from work performed and accept and use money provided by the Wyoming Department of Agriculture or others in promotion of the district's conservation programs.

Districts provide a means for all interested people in the community to work together for the conservation and development of natural resources. A District Supervisor represents the people of the District as a member of the official governing body. The Board of Supervisors had the responsibility for developing and putting into action a program to conserve and develop the natural resources of the district.


Q: How did Conservation Districts start?

A: During the 1930?s, results of the Dust Bowl stressed the need to conserve natural resources, especially regarding soil. Agencies ranging from Land Grant Universities to the Federal Emergency Relief Administration researched and implemented conservation practices throughout the nation. Eventually, the Soil Conservation Service (or Natural Resource Conservation Service as it is known today) was created under the Soil Conservation Act of 1935 to develop and implement soil erosion control programs.

Occasionally, agencies working with conservation ended up competing with each other. Local leadership was needed to coordinate their efforts and tie them into local conditions and priorities. Because of this the President developed a model Conservation District Law for consideration by the state governments.

In March 1941, the State Legislature passed an enabling act which provided for the establishment of Conservation Districts in Wyoming. Conservation Districts were to direct these programs protecting local renewable natural resources. Wyoming now has 34 local Conservation Districts in 23 counties.


Q: What does the SWCCD provide to the citizens of Sweetwater County?

A:

  • Promotes water quality improvement projects and provides assistance to residents, urban and rural, regarding water quality issues
  • Provides information and education to individuals and organizations on natural resource issues
  • Provides and enhances recreation and wildlife opportunities for residents and visitors
  • Conserves timber and rangeland
  • Monitors state and federal agency actions and decisions to ensure private landowner rights are represented

Q: What is the difference between SWCCD and NRCS?

A: Although NRCS and SWCCD are located in the same office (The USDA Service Center), there is a distinct difference in what we do. We are cooperating agencies and work together on many practices, yet we are separate agencies. NRCS partners with many agencies and organizations. Its closest partnership, which began over 70 years ago, is with conservation districts. NRCS staff works with conservation districts work with at the local level to provide technical assistance to farmers and ranchers as they voluntarily apply conservation measures to their private lands. The biggest difference between the two agencies is that NRCS is a federal agency and SWCCD is a local agency, a legal subdivision of the County. Each of us has separate budgets and the ability to do very different things. For example, NRCS provides mostly technical assistance and receives their money annually through the federal budget. They often have stricter deadlines and less flexibility on a local level. On the other hand, the SWCCD is run by a board representing Sweetwater County residents on a local level, and is able to apply for various grants and provide information and education on natural resource topics. The NRCS values the input from the local level and uses this to provide better services to landowners. SWCCD board members assist in NRCS planning by participating in local work groups and SWCCD is also able to promote many NRCS programs and uses NRCS staff as a technical resource when planning workshops, and educational events. In turn, NRCS uses these education events, newsletter articles and workshops as an outlet to promote their program and spearhead educational needs.


Q: What is the Sweetwater County Watershed Plan and why should I care?

A:The Belle Fourche River Watershed Plan please change this to Bitter & Killpecker Creeks Watershed Management Plan.


Q: What types of educational programs can you offer to the schools in the County?

A: Right now, we mostly offer educational programs involving watersheds, water quality and water quality sampling. There are many opportunities for us to grow and we hope to offer more educational and outreach programs. We also have water sampling kits for younger age groups including macro-invertebrates.

Next year we plan to have a COUNTY WIDE EARTH DAY event, which is in the development stages. We also plan to participated in National Water Quality Monitoring Day in October.

Please contact our office if you are interested in learning more or scheduling a time for us to visit your school.


Q: What are the regulations in Sweetwater County for installing a Septic System?

A: According to Resolution No. 9-2004, any Small Wastewater Treatment Facility (septic system or drain field) in Sweetwater County must be inspected by a County Designee. This inspection must happen BEFORE the installation is complete. In Sweetwater County, this person is now employed through the Growth and Development Office.

The steps involved in permitting a septic system are outlined in a document developed bySWCCD . Click here to download this document. We have also created a flow chart developed by SWCCD. To download this document Click here.

For a list of contractors/installers in the area who are familiar with this process, please call the office.


Q: What are the regulations in the state of Wyoming for installing a Septic System?

A: In the State of Wyoming, there are minimum standards for the design and construction of small waste water treatment facilities (septic systems or drain fields). It is the homeowners responsibility to assure that septic system installers comply with the proper design and sitting requirements.

The Water Quality Division (WDEQ/WQD) Rules & Regulations that pertain to the installation of septic systems are presented in Chapter 11, Part D. To download this document Click here.

WDEQ/WQD offices issue permits for septic systems in the following counties in Wyoming: Big Horn, Carbon, Sweetwater, Hot Springs, Niobrara, Platte, Washakie, and Weston.

Permits for septic systems MUST be filled out and accepted prior to being inspected in Sweetwater County by the County Designee (see below). This application is quite extensive and usually the contractor and/or installer can help you fill it out. For a copy of the permit applications stop by our office, or click here for a website where you can download the same information.

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