During the 1930s the Dust Bowl made the need to conserve natural resources, particularly soil, very clear. The Soil Conservation Service, now named Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), was created under the Soil Conservation Act of 1935 to develop and implement soil erosion control programs.
Local leadership was needed to coordinate these efforts and tie them to local conditions and priorities. Accordingly, President Roosevelt developed a model Conservation District Law for consideration by state governments. In March 1941, the State Legislature passed an enabling act which established conservation districts in Wyoming. Conservation districts were to direct programs protecting local renewable natural resources. Wyoming now has 34 conservation districts in 23 counties.
The Cody Conservation District (CCD) was organized on May 20, 1942. Seven additions to the original District boundaries since its formation have brought the total area of the CCD to 2,470,710 acres. The CCD is one of three conservation districts in Park County and is in the Western half of Park County. The Powell-Clarks Fork Conservation District borders the CCD to the northeast, while the Meeteetse Conservation District lies to the southeast.
The CCD is a local nonregulatory residing subdivision of the state as defined and established by the Wyoming State Statues at Title 11, Chapter 16, et seq., entitled “Wyoming Conservation District Law”. The five-member Board of Supervisors of the CCD is chosen by the people residing within the CCD boundaries by popular vote during the general election and serves the community voluntarily. The elected members represent both the rural and urban populations within the District. The Board of Supervisors is the only locally elected board charged with the responsibility of representing local people on natural resource issues.
The Conservation District Law states that conservation districts should promote practices that stabilize ranching and farming operations, to preserve natural resources, protect the tax base, control floods, prevent impairment of dams and reservoir, preserve wildlife, protect public lands, and protect and promote health, safety and general welfare of the people of this state.
(a) It is hereby declared that the farm and grazing lands of Wyoming are among the basic assets of the state; that improper land use practices cause and contribute to serious erosion of these lands by wind and water; that among the consequences which would result from such conditions are the deterioration of soil and its fertility and the silting and sedimentation of stream channels, reservoirs, dams and ditches; that to conserve soil, and soil and water resources, and prevent and control soil erosion, it is necessary that land use practices contributing to soil erosion be discouraged and that appropriate soil conserving land use practices be adopted. (b) It is hereby declared to be the policy of the legislature to provide for the conservation of the soil, and soil and water resources of this state, and for the control and prevention of soil erosion and for flood prevention or the conservation, development, utilization, and disposal of water, and thereby to stabilize ranching and farming operations, to preserve natural resources, protect the tax base, control floods, prevent impairment of dams and reservoirs, preserve wildlife, protect public lands, and protect and promote the health, safety and general welfare of the people of this state.