What is a Conservation District?

Across the United States, nearly 3000 conservation districts offer free help to residents to conserve land, water, forests, wildlife and related natural resources. Their mission, which began after the devastating dust bowl era of the 1930’s, relied on working with farmers and rural landowners on a one-on-one basis. 

Hugh Hammond Bennett, Chief of the Soil Conservation Service, and Soil Scientist Howard Finnell, recognized the need for the conservation of soil and water, prevention of wind erosion, and taking care of the land. 

The conservation districts of Washington State.

Our Legacy

This legacy continues today with conservation districts, which are tasked with local implementation of conservation practices, both urban and rural. There are currently 45 conservation districts in Washington State.

Read from the 2014 Washington State Conservation Commission report celebrating 75 years of conservation success stories.

Snohomish Conservation District is a political subdivision of state government with no regulatory authority. We have been working with farmers, city residents, rural and suburban landowners on a voluntary basis since 1941. District boundaries include Camano Island (added in 1961) and most of Snohomish County. We operate with a diverse staff ranging from engineers, resource planners, community conservation staff, restoration specialists, a field crew, outreach specialists and administrative staff. 

More than half of the land in Washington State is privately owned. Without a doubt, the success of conservation efforts depends on private landowner participation.

Our Mission

Snohomish Conservation District’s mission is to work cooperatively with others to promote and encourage conservation and responsible use of natural resources.

Our Funding

Conservation Districts are sub-units of state government. As such, all 45 conservation districts in Washington receive some basic funding from the Washington State Conservation Commission.  Snohomish Conservation District is also supported with two assessments, one from Island County for Camano Island, and one from Snohomish County. The District aggressively pursues local, state and Federal grants to further leverage our base funding. Wherever possible, the District partners with other entities to achieve similar goals working with land owners, urban, rural and sub-urban residents on conservation issues.

Rates & Assessment Information

Snohomish County

From 2010-2017, the District received a $5 per parcel (+$0.05/acre) assessment. In 2018, a $6 rate (+$0.06/acre) was approved by Snohomish County Council, and for 2019, a $7 rate (+$0.07/acre) was approved by the Snohomish County Council. The District will continue to propose a continuation of this incremental approach, to increase $1 per year until we reach $10 per parcel (+$0.10/acre), to ensure that services can continue to be provided for our local communities into the future.

Island County/Camano Island

We received an assessment of $5/parcel and $0.05/acre to fund services for residents of Camano Island. Camano Island is currently under a ten year assessment (2010-2020) for the Snohomish Conservation District to provide services including technical assistance to rural residential, farm, and forestry landowners, education and outreach, soil testing, and other natural resource-related assistance.

**Conservation Districts are authorized to receive a special assessment under RCW 89.08.400.