The Cumberland County Soil & Water Conservation District is a recognized and respected leader in natural resource conservation. We accomplish our mission through public outreach; education; and directly working with individuals, watershed groups, municipalities, and many others to provide expert planning and execution of practices that protect our natural resources.
The District was established in 1946 in response the Dust Bowl. As Washington D.C. skies literally darkened with Midwestern topsoil, local districts were formed to address the poor farming practices that led to the ecological disaster. Today we address soil and water conservation needs on both rural and urban landscapes.
The District is governed by a voluntary Board of Supervisors. The Board is comprised of five Supervisors and seven Associate Supervisors who meet on the third Wednesday of each month. These volunteers identify conservation priorities and opportunities.
The success of the District is due, in large part, to our ability to meet the needs of Cumberland County. Over time, the primary focus of staff has evolved to address changing natural resource conservation issues. Today, the District focuses on lessening the impact of pollution from stormwater (rain and snowmelt) and preventing soils from being washed away. As water flows over the land, it picks up pollution, such as pet waste, lawn chemicals, metals and even soils, and washes it directly into our waters. The District has many programs designed to address the threat of stormwater.
The following are some of the District’s current programs:
- Clean water education programs in local schools;
- Community education and outreach programs about healthy lawn care;
- Development and construction review to ensure potential impacts to water are reduced;
- Municipal assistance to meet stringent and unfunded mandates of the federal Clean Water Act; and
- Lake protection assistance for municipalities, residents, and lake associations.
The District receives approximately 4.5% of its annual income from small grants from the Maine Department of Agriculture and Cumberland County. Most of this funding is spent developing programs and proposals to address conservation. The remaining 95% of the District’s budget is funded through grants and contracts.