The need for soil conservation has been recognized for centuries. Indigenous people protected local ecosystems and preserved biodiversity through land management and conservation-minded farming practices, long before European settler arrived in the Americas. Although not widely practiced in Colonial America, many farmers, including Thomas Jefferson, realized the importance of protecting topsoil. After the Dust Bowl in the 1930s and witnessing the devastating results of erosion, the U.S. Government created soil conservation districts. A political subdivision of state government, districts typically have the same boundaries as their county. Soil conservation districts provide farmers, developers and the general public with soil and water conservation expertise at the local level. The Prince George’s Soil Conservation District was established on April 7, 1941. Initially created to assist the farming community in saving valuable topsoil, the District has expanded its programs to include water quality protection, public education, urban erosion and sediment control, small pond approval, and technical assistance to urban agricultural producers, landowners, schools, federal, state and local agencies and other groups.
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The mission of the Prince George’s Soil Conservation District is to protect and promote the health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of the State and County, and otherwise enhance their living environment by conservation of soil, water and related resources. The District works to control and prevent soil erosion in order to preserve natural resources, control floods, prevent impairment of dams and reservoirs, assist in maintaining the navigability of rivers and harbors, preserve wildlife, protect the tax base and public lands.
The District promotes sound land management through the development and implementation of locally-led soil conservation and water quality programs. In addition, the District is committed to gaining awareness and understanding of issues important to diverse communities and supporting actions to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the pursuit to administer locally led soil and water conservation efforts in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The District acknowledges the legacy of slavery in Prince George’s County and Southern Maryland, as well as the enslaved African people whose labor was exploited for generations to help establish the County’s economy, specifically the production and harvest of tobacco and other crops.
Finally, the District believes it is important to create dialogue to honor those that have been historically and systemically disenfranchised. So, we acknowledge the truth that is often buried: We are on the ancestral lands of the Piscataway People, who were among the first in the Western Hemisphere. We are on indigenous land that was stolen from the Piscataway People by European colonists. We pay respects to Piscataway elders and ancestors. Please take a moment to consider the many legacies of violence, displacement, migration, and settlement that bring us together here today.
Please refer to our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) statement to learn about the commitments and intentions to improve our JEDI efforts from our Board of Supervisors.