Director Bewley gazes across the valley. © T. Matteson

What Are Soil and Water Conservation Districts?

Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) are legally defined as subdivisions of state government, but they function as local units.  In Oregon, there are 45 SWCDs working to put conservation efforts on the ground.  The results include cleaner water, improved crop land, pastures, forests and restored wildlife habitat.

The Benton SWCD’s Mission

To provide leadership to Benton County residents through education and technical assistance for conservation and responsible use and management of soil, water and related resources.

Serving Benton County Since 1956

Benton SWCD Zones

The District was organized under the Oregon Soil and Water District Law ORS 568.210-780. The Certificate of Organization creating the Benton SWCD was issued December 28, 1956.

The Benton SWCD provides leadership at the local level. We help landowners and cooperators design and implement management plans to protect natural resources.

The Benton SWCD is led by seven elected volunteer Directors: five represent geographic zones in the county, and two fill at-large positions. Other volunteers are appointed to serve as Associate Directors, contributing additional insight, expertise and energy to the board.

What We Do

The Benton SWCD is here to serve YOU!

Our Activities

  • We assist local landowners by offering technical and financial assistance for the restoration and enhancement of wetlands, riparian areas and wildlife habitat.
  • We promote conservation practices that reduce soil erosion and improve water quality.
  • We support and provide conservation education for Benton County youth with our conservation education grants educator newsletter, and participation at local events such as Kids Day for Conservation.
  • Serve as the Local Management Agency for the development of the Mid-Willamette Agricultural Water Quality Management Plan mandated by Senate Bill 1010
  • Provide thousands of low-cost seedlings to local residents for conservation plantings through our Annual Native Plant Sale
  • We compiled all available fish passage barrier and fish habitat inventory data in Benton County into one GIS database with the goal of identifying, prioritizing and planning fish passage and stream restoration projects throughout Benton County. This is known as the Benton Fish Passage Improvement Program. This program has been completed and is no longer active.
  • Coordinate workshops on conservation practices and natural resource issues such as: soil quality, small acreages and backyard conservation, and conservation planning.
  • Provide resources to the community for “on the ground” conservation projects and education. Some resources include: Soil Sampling Equipment, Stream Simulator, Tree Planting Equipment, Seed Drill, and Pasture Pumps.
  • Represent soil and water conservation principles to local and state elected officials.