Our History

While testifying on Capitol Hill on April 2, 1935, soil scientist Hugh Bennett threw back the room’s curtains to reveal a sky blackened by dust caused by the dust bowl conditions. Congress immediately declared soil and water conservation a national policy and priority. Since about three-fourths of the land in the U.S. was privately owned, Congress realized that only active support from landowners would guarantee the success of conservation on private land, and the idea for soil and water conservation districts was born.

Today there are nearly 3,000 conservation districts-one in almost every county in all 50 States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Now expanded to serve all the conservation needs of our nation, districts educate and help local citizens conserve land, water, forests, wildlife, and other natural resources.

Districts and their state associations formed the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) in 1946.

NACD unites districts into one voice and helps them accomplish collectively what they could not accomplish alone. On behalf of districts, NACD develops national conservation policies, influences lawmakers and builds partnerships with other agencies and organizations. NACD also provides services to its districts to help them share ideas in order to better serve their local communities.

In January of 1948 the Calvert Independent reported that, due to severe erosion problems in the county, leading Calvert County farmers had petitioned the State Soil Conservation Committee to organize a district in this county.

“Such action on the part of the farmers reflects a knowledge of the necessity of maintaining productive soils. The increased demand on agriculture during the war has drained our soil of much of its mineral resources. If we are to remain a strong nation, we must protect our topsoil. America owes its greatness to a few inches of its topsoil. If it is allowed to wash away, the health, happiness and prosperity of a great nation is gone and we will be placed among the weaker nations of the world who are today being fed by the productivity of American soil. You as a farmer can do something about this. Save your soil.”

All Calvert County landowners were invited to a hearing to express their views concerning the formation of the district. In the referendum that followed, more than 98 percent of those voting favored the formation of the district. On June 10, 1948, the State Soil Conservation Committee formally declared Calvert Soil Conservation District organized as a result of the referendum.

The first supervisors appointed by the State Committee were Calvert W. Norfolk of Owings and A. Claude Turner of Lusby. The first elected supervisors were Edwin Ward of Dunkirk, Wilfred Cox of Huntingtown and John W. Hall of Lusby. Calvert Norfolk was elected chairman of the board the same year and remained in that office for 19 consecutive years. He remained an active Supervisor for more than 40 years until his retirement in January 1989. All of our supervisors are dedicated VOLUNTEERS who have a deep concern for the conservation of the natural resources of Calvert County.