A dynamic partnership of conservation professionals providing quality service to protect Lehigh County’s diverse natural resources through leadership, technical assistance, education, land protection, promotion of sustainable development, and protection of water and soil quality.
The Lehigh County Conservation District was established by the Lehigh County Commissioners on September 26, 1946, at the request of a significant number of landowners in the county. It is one of sixty-six conservation districts in Pennsylvania and nearly 3,000 nationwide. At that time, its primary purpose was to address soil erosion from mostly agricultural properties. Governed by a volunteer board of citizen directors, it was staffed by employees of the Soil Conservation Service in the US Department of Agriculture, who worked with farmers to develop farm conservation plans.
The past half-century has seen the District employ its own staff to address a variety of resource management concerns: agricultural nutrient management, biosolids application, as well as soil conservation; erosion and sediment control from urban development sites, farmland preservation, conservation education, and watershed protection. Currently, fourteen employees work in these program areas, most under delegation agreement or contract with state agencies.
The District is funded by three major sources: county government, state government and user fees. Donations and fundraising activities help fund educational programs. The current board consists of three farmers and three public directors and one county commissioner. Directors, appointed by the County Executive, serve four-year terms, and meet monthly to set policy, hear progress reports, and plan the District’s work. The Pennsylvania State Conservation Commission guides them in their operations, and they belong to both the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts and the National Association of Conservation Districts.