Conservation Districts are “political subdivisions of state government” that utilize state, federal, and private sector resources to solve today’s conservation problems.
“Political subdivisions of state government” can be a confusing term. What does this actually mean? A Conservation District is neither a state government agency or local government entity. A conservation district is NOT a non-profit organization. Conservation Districts are self-governed by a Board of 7 Supervisors.
Conservation districts are independent from other governmental bodies, in that it may act to exercise those powers conferred upon it by law without seeking the approval of a superior authority. It employs its own employees whose salaries are fixed by the political subdivision, and it often incurs debts which are not debts of the Commonwealth but are debts of the political subdivision.
In Kentucky, the General Assembly passed legislation enabling the creating of conservation districts in 1940. South Logan Conservation District was the first to be assembled and was issued a Certificate of Organization on November 19, 1940. The Henderson County Conservation District was the last to be established in 1954 therefore covering the state completely with conservation districts.
In the beginning, conservation districts were formed to allow local citizens many opportunities to help guide and develop conservation programs in each county by working at the "grass roots" level. This is seen as the most important vantage point for identifying problems, finding solutions and implementing programs. Many programs that began at the grass roots lever still exists to this day and have been expanded to the state level.