North Dakota State Soil Conservation

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NDSU Extension
2718 Gateway Ave., Suite 304
Bismarck, ND 58503
Phone:701-328-9715
Fax: 701-328-9721

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NDSSCC Composition

The North Dakota State Soil Conservation Committee (SSCC) was created by the 1937 Legislative Assembly and is maintained as a state agency.  The SSCC has a membership of seven voting members, five elected and two appointed by the Governor. The term of office of every member of the SSCC shall be three years and until a successor is elected or appointed. A member of the SSCC shall be eligible for re-election and re-appointment, but no member may serve for more than two full, successive terms. Vacancies in either elective or appointive terms may be filled for the unexpired term by appointment by the Governor.

Elective Members
For the purpose of electing the five elective members of the SSCC, the State of North Dakota is divided into five areas as follows:   
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Area I - Benson, Cavalier, Eddy, Foster, Grand Forks, Nelson, Pembina, Ramsey, Towner, Walsh and Wells Counties.
Area II - Barnes, Cass, Dickey, Griggs, LaMoure, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Steele and Traill Counties.
Area III - Bottineau, Burke, Divide, McHenry, Mountrail, Pierce, Renville, Rolette and Ward Counties.
Area IV - Burleigh, Emmons, Kidder, Logan, McIntosh, McLean, Morton, Oliver, Sheridan, Sioux and Stutsman Counties.
Area V - Adams, Billings, Bowman, Dunn, Golden Valley, Grant, Hettinger, McKenzie, Mercer, Stark, Slope and Williams Counties.

One member of the SSCC is elected from each of the five areas by vote of the members of the boards of supervisors of the districts in that area. Elections of members of the SSCC are held under rules adopted by the SSCC and in cooperation with and at the time of the North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts Area Meetings.  Elections of members of the SSCC are conducted by the SSCC.

Appointive Members
Two members of the SSCC shall be appointed by the Governor. The Governor shall appoint individuals who can represent those interests within the state not already represented, or less fully represented, by one or more of the five elected members of the SSCC. The Governor shall attempt, so far as feasible, to make possible suitable representation for all interests in the state in the membership of the SSCC, including the interests of farmers, livestock growers, rural areas, small towns, cities, and industry and business, recognizing that any single member of the SSCC may sometimes appropriately be regarded as representing more than one of these interests.

Advisory, Nonvoting Members
The SSCC has six advisory, nonvoting member who are representatives of the State Association of Soil Conservation Districts, NDSU Extension Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, State Water Commission, Commissioner of Agriculture and Game and Fish Department.

The NDSU Extension Service was directed by the 56th Legislative Assembly to assist the Committee in performing the Committee’s duties, within the limits of legislative appropriations. The Extension Director shall instruct Extension Agents to cooperate in the delivery of  information and services to the Districts.

North Dakota State Soil Conservation Committee Duties and Powers 
The SSCC assists with administrative matters and provides program planning assistance to the soil conservation districts in the state. The members of the SSCC receive one hundred thirty five dollars per day as compensation for their services on the SSCC in addition to travel expenses incurred in the discharge of their duties.  Meetings of the SSCC are open to the public.

Principal Duties and Powers:
To offer such assistance as may be appropriate to the supervisors of districts in the carrying out of any of their powers and programs.

To keep the supervisors of each of the several districts informed of the activities and experience of all other districts, and to facilitate an interchange of advice and experience between such districts and cooperation between them.

To secure the cooperation and assistance of state, federal, regional, interstate, and local, public, and private agencies with districts; and to facilitate arrangements under  which districts may assist or serve county governing bodies and other agencies in the administration of any activity concerned with the  conservation of natural resources.

To review agreements, or forms of agreements, proposed to be entered into by districts with other districts or with state, federal, interstate, or other public  or private organizations, and advise the districts concerning such agreements or forms of agreement.

To recommend to the Extension Director biennial budgets necessary to finance the activities of the SSCC and districts; and to distribute moneys appropriated by the legislative assembly for grants to soil conservation districts.

To represent the state in matters affecting soil conservation. To require annual reports from districts. To establish uniform accounting methods that shall be used by districts.

To receive from other state and local agencies for review and comment suitable descriptions of their plans, programs, and activities affecting the conservation of natural resources for purposes of coordination with district conservation programs.

To arrange for and participate in conferences necessary to avoid conflict among such plans and programs and to call attention to omissions; and to avoid duplication of effort.

The State Soil Conservation Committee And District Records
The State Soil Conservation Committee (SSCC) office is the central point, at the state level, for information concerning Soil Conservation Districts, their activities and programs.

The State Soil Conservation Committee office keeps a file showing:

  1. All actions taken in the organization of each District.  
  2. A record of each supervisor - when elected or appointed. 
  3. Additions of territory, changes of district boundaries, consolidation of districts, change of district names and dissolution of districts.

The State Committee must keep a record of:

  • District minutes
  • District long-range programs and revisions
  • District annual plans of operation
  • District annual reports
  • The financial audit of each District
  • District rules, regulations, contracts, agreements and other information, such as newsletters, and reports as may be necessary

Why it is necessary to keep a record of this type for each Soil Conservation District at the State level:Soil Conservation Districts are a governmental subdivision of State government operating under State Law (Chapter 4.1.20 )of the North Dakota Century Code) and are subject to provisions of the State constitution and various rules and regulations which require a State entity for governmental subdivision to keep such records.    

In order for the SSCC to carry out its general duties and powers spelled out in Section 4.1.20-25 of the District Law, it is necessary for the SSCC to keep such records and other information available at all times. A complete record of Districts and their activities are necessary in statewide planning for development in the field of land and water resources, and land-use planning and economic development. Records of each District provide information necessary for state appropriation requests and other legislative action. Such records tell the story of Soil Conservation Districts, their accomplishments and short comings that are essential for Districts to meet the challenge of a changing world and keep the conservation of our natural resources under local control.

Watershed Projects 
I.  United States Public Law 83-566. Provides for the establishment of small Watershed Projects.          
The State Soil Conservation Committee was designated by Governor Norman Brunsdale to receive, approve and assign planning priority to watershed applications.  Applications are to include facts about the size and location of the watershed, descriptions of the land and water problems, information about proposed work needed to solve the community problem, information about the sponsoring organizations and their source of funds. Watersheds, by law, are limited to 250,000 acres in size.

Since 1954 when the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act (Public Law 83-566) was enacted, many rural and urban communities have applied for technical and cost share assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The Act provides that sponsors of watershed projects may include purposes such as flood prevention, agricultural water management and water supply, municipal and industrial water supply for present or future use, recreation, and fish and wildlife development.

Watershed projects bridge the resource development gap between the soil and water conservation work of individual land owners and large federal and state public works projects for water resource development on major rivers. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has the primary responsibility for carrying out the small watershed program.In addition to assistance under Public Law 83-566, aid is available from other federal, federal-state, and state programs dealing with land, water, plants, recreation, and fish and wildlife.

II. Sponsoring Watershed Projects- Districts are eligible sponsors for watershed protection and flood prevention projects (Public Law 83-566).  They are responsible for the land treatment features of the watershed program.  It is necessary to have as a co-sponsor an organization that has taxing authority and right of eminent domain. This can be a county, city, or a unit of state government; however, a Water Resource District is most ideally suited for co-sponsorship.

The water resource district would be responsible for obtaining easements and rights-of-way, contracting for construction of structural measures, and their future maintenance. It is most important that soil conservation district boards of supervisors maintain close working relationship with the directors of the water resource district. Districts that have specific questions regarding watershed projects cost-sharing for watershed development or organizing water resource districts, should contact the local District Conservationist of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

North Dakota State Soil Conservation Committee Authorities - Duties and Responsibilities Laws

  1. Soil Conservation District Law (N.D.C.C. 4.1.20
  2. Soil Conservation District Technician Program 
  3. Surface Mining Reports Law (N.D.C.C. 38-16)
  4. Reclamation Plans for Surface Mining of Coal (N.D.C.C. 38-14.1-3)
  5. State Technical Committee - Advisory Group for USDA Conservation Programs 
  6. State Program Committee for the Rural Abandoned Mine Program (RAMP)
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