Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

Conservation Districts Improve Natural Resources


Results are in for the 2013Conservation Districts Supervisor Elections. Every two years approximately half of the 190 district supervisor positions spread throughout the 38 conservation districts in Utah are up for election administered by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. This year 24 supervisors were newly elected and 52 were re-elected for four year terms.

A list of the 2013 CD Supervisor election results is available here. 

Conservation districts (CDs) consisting of five elected supervisors in each district play a larger role in a variety of natural resource conservation projects than many people realize.

In Wasatch County, for example, a district lead project is reducing sediment and other pollutant loading to Deer Creek Reservoir, which, in turn, protects the blue ribbon trout fishery downstream in the Provo River.

“The Wasatch CD has recently been involved in a successful project restoring  stream banks that have improved water quality and decreased sediment, “ said Thayne Mickelson , Executive Director , Utah Conservation Commission. Multiple contributors have made the project successful, Mickelson added.  “Water quality improvement is too big for any one person or any one agency to address alone. By working together we can make a marked difference in the quality of our natural resources. Conservation Districts are best suited to lead natural resource conservation and improvements. They live in the area of the concern and they have been elected to lead the charge.”

In Box Elder County, some of the work of the local district has helped landowners improve wildlife habitat. In particular the Sage Grouse, which has been noted as an at-risk species, have the landowners looking for ways to improve their habitat and manage grazing systems to encourage healthy productive rangelands. The resulting productive regrowth and healthy forage production is providing important habitat for the sage grouse and other wildlife. Fred Selman, Chair of the Northern Utah CD and winner of the Leopold Conservation Award says that grazing is an important management tool for healthy watersheds.

“It’s been an eye opener to us and to people who are interested in wildlife to see what some of the ranchers can do to encourage wildlife,” said Selman. “On our Four Mile property we have probably the biggest concentration of sage grouse there. They tell us it’s the biggest concentration in the state.”
Planning is a big reason for these and other district lead successes in the state, said Mickelson. “Each conservation district has developed a Natural Resource Assessment that identifies the most critical issues in each county in Utah.” Through a series of public outreach campaigns and partnership meetings they prioritized concerns and put together action plans to address the most critical issues.

Some CD’s are in the process of developing Coordinated Resource Management Plans which initiate action strategies to improve problem areas. The CRMP process encourages public involvement and ways to work together to accomplish the goals set forth by the CRMP committee.
Other Conservation Districts which have recently received grants to increase planning efforts of Coordinated Resource Management Planning are West Box Elder CD, Dixie CD, Kane CD, Sanpete CD, Timp/Nebo CD, and Summit CD. These CD’s will be working to implement conservation plans which will lead to the improvement of the natural resources in their respective counties.

Conservation districts in Utah date back to 1937. The Dust Bowl of the 1920s and 30s resulted in a large migration of topsoil. Conservation practices led by Conservation Districts restored hundreds of thousands of acres back to productive soils.  Today, CD’s are tasked to work on soil erosion control and soil quality, water quality, animal feeding operations, nutrient management, water delivery and conservation including working with canal companies, agriculture land preservation, and many other natural resource issues dealing with grazing and public land management.


Contact: Bracken Davis
(801) 538-7171
Larry Lewis (801) 538-7104
Cell (801) 514-2152











posted: December 18, 2013