Cullman County Soil & Water Conservation District

Conservation at a Crossroads

For nearly 70 years, the State Soil and Water Conservation Committee and the 67 Soil and Water Conservation Districts have had Alabama’s strong support. Through Memorandum of Agreements with the Governor’s office and the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), we share a unique...
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About the Cullman County Soil & Water Conservation District

MEET OUR TEAM!

Cullman County SWCD Board of Supervisors


District Staff

Cullman County SWCD Board of Staff - Deborah Widner
  • Deborah Widner: Certified District Administrative Coordinator
Cullman County SWCD Board of Staff - Pat Smith
  • Kathy Holmes: Assistant Certified District Administrative Coordinator
Cullman County SWCD Board of Staff - Johnny Grantham
  • Johnny Grantham: District Promotional Representative
Cullman County SWCD Board of Staff - Travis Kress
  • Travis Kress: District Project Coordinator

Our History

The Cullman County Soil and Water Conservation District is a legal subdivision of state government. The purpose of the District is to plan and carry out a program of soil, water and related resources conservation in Cullman County.
A five member Board of Supervisors, who serves without pay, governs the ration of the Districts activities. The District employs a staff of 4. The Board entered into a working relationship with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), through which the NRCS provides technical help to the Board in implementing its conservation program in Cullman County.
Soil & Water Conservation Districts and their governing Boards of Supervisors were formed nationwide, based on the "enabling legislation" from Congress that grew out of the devastating "Dust Bowl" and other critical conservation problems of the 1930s. This enabling legislation granted individual states the right to form Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
In 1933 the Soil Erosion Service (SES) was created as a temporary division of the Department of Interior for the prevention of soil erosion on public and private lands. Dr. Hugh H. Bennett, a North Carolina native, who is often referred as the "father of soil conservation" was chosen as the Director. In his capacity as Director of SES, Dr. Bennett was instrumental in problems that the country faced.
The first help Alabama received was through the SES, which later became the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), now known as the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). This was assistance through the Buck & Sandy Creek demonstration project established in 1934, headquartered in Dadeville, the first Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp in Alabama, which started field work July 11, 1934. Richmond Y. Bailey was chosen as the first Director of the project and was the first employee of the SES in Alabama. Mr. Bailey has often been referred to as the "father of soil conservation in Alabama".
During the next two years, a total of 13 CCC soil conservation camps were placed in the operation in the state. Later three other demonstration project areas were set up, these being the Greenville Project in the upper hilly section of the Limestone Valley of Calhoun County, and the Boguechitta Creek Project located in the Black Belt and Upper Coastal Plain Soils of Perry County at Marion.
The CCC did most of the early conservation work, along with WPA (Works Progress Administration Labor) in Alabama. Through the Department of Interior, these were programs initiated by President Roosevelt to provide useful work to unemployed people during the depression.
All these early efforts were doing some good; however, in 1934 and 1935, two giant dust storms were receiving national attention. Tons of topsoil in giant dust clouds from Kansas, Colorado, Texas, and Oklahoma blew over Washington, D.C., and New York City carrying dust clouds 300 miles out over the Atlantic Ocean.
It was at this time that Congress was discussing creating the agency of the Soil Conservation Service, and in 1935 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation creating the Soil Conservation Service. This was the first soil conservation act in the history of this or in any other country.
On February 27, 1937, Roosevelt sent to the Governor of each state the Standard State Conservation Districts Law, urging each state to push for a similar enabling legislation that would "enable" the state to form a local convene until January, 1939. During the interim between 1937 and January, 1939, agricultural leaders in Alabama studied the Standard Soil Conservation Districts Act and altered it to develop an acceptable version. When the 1939 Alabama Legislature convened, an acceptable Soil Conservation Districts Act was ready for consideration by the Legislature.
Senator Howard Cooper of Centerville, Bibb County, introduced the bill. Extension Service workers assisted Soil Conservation Service employees in acquainting legislators with the proposed Soil Conservation Districts Act.
In March, after the Legislature had been in session more than two months, Senator Joe Poole of Butler County brought the bill before the Legislature. It passes both houses of the Legislature with only one dissenting vote and became law when signed by the Governor Frank Dixon on March 18, 1939, creating the Alabama State Soil and Water Conservation District. In the early stages of formation, multiple-county districts were established.
In 1957, the Districts Law was amended to allow counties to withdraw from multi-county Districts and organize single-county districts. By November, 1967, all districts had become one-county districts whose boundaries coincided with the state's county boundaries as it is today.