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History of the District

Randy Willis
Contact: Randy Willis
District Administrator
Phone: (828) 465-8950
Email Randy Willis


mapAgricultural Resources Center
1175 S Brady Avenue
Newton, NC 28658

Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m
While testifying on Capitol Hill on April 2, 1935, soil scientist and Anson County NC native Hugh Hammond Bennett threw back the room's curtains to reveal a sky blackened by dust. Congress immediately declared soil and water conservation a national policy and priority. Since about three-fourths of the land in the U.S. is privately owned, Congress realized that only active support from landowners would guarantee the success of conservation on private land. The idea for soil and water conservation districts was born. Today there are nearly 3000 conservation districts--one in almost every county in the United States. 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.  
April 8, 1938   Established as the 6th district in North Carolina.
April 26, 1938   First meeting of Supervisors
June 24, 1938   "Soil Conservation Work Plan for the Catawba District" adopted.
May 1, 1941   Aerial photos taken of County farms to show conservation progress.
December 1941   World War II slows the conservation effort through lack of manpower.
Summer 1947   State Soil Conservation Committee publishes standardized procedures and policies for Districts.
August 18, 1950   The Supervisors acknowledged the efficiency of working with groups of farmers together to accomplish greater conservation progress.
Fall 1951   Soil Conservation District signs erected and posted.
January 20, 1958   Essay Contest created "with the Agricultural Students in the county schools as contestants".
September 30, 1958   A movement towards water conservation and protection encourages watershed projects for the District.
November 15, 1960   Muddy Creek Watershed Improvement District formally adopted after being approved by popular vote the week before.
July 24, 1961   Catawba Soil and Water Conservation District is established along with a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
1966   Catawba County Commissioners vote to support a county-wide watershed program with $20,000 annually and to permanently support the Catawba Soil and Water Conservation District with an annual appropriation of $1,500.
1968   District signs erected on the main Catawba County highways.
1969   Field work completed on the Soil Survey of Catawba County.
1973-1974   Floodplain study of Clark's Creek completed and Lyle Creek begun.
1975   "Potential for Outdoor Recreation in Catawba County" published.
1976   Poster contest added to the educational program.
January 26, 1979   First District Public Speaking Contest held.
1980   Innovative White Pine Seedling program begun.
1982   Technicians are hired by the District.
May 3, 1983   First Environmental Awareness Week Field Day is held for Catawba County fifth grade students cosponsored by Cooperative Extension.
1985   First Federal Farm Bill to include conservation provisions is passed.
1987   North Carolina Cost-Share Program for Non-point Source Pollution Control expands to provide assistance for all NC Counties.
June 16, 1992   District relocates to the Agricultural Resources Center.
Spring 1993   Fred T. Foard High School is the first team from Catawba County Schools to enter the NC Envirothon Competition and ranks Third Place.
Excerpted from Davyd Foard Hood's; A History of the Catawba Soil and Water Conservation District, 1992