Director Bewley gazes across the valley. © T. Matteson

What are Conservation Districts?

Benton SWCD is one of 45 conservation districts in Oregon working to put conservation efforts on the ground. The results include cleaner water, improved crop land, pastures, forests, and restored wildlife habitat.

Learn how conservation districts got their start.

We are a Special District.

Conservation districts are Special Districts like irrigation districts or fire districts. Special Districts are financed through property taxes, fees for services, or a combination thereof. For more information about special districts, read this brochure. Conservation districts are not non-profit organizations (501 (c) 3), but are 170(c)1 organizations, which means donations to Benton SWCD are tax-deductible.

Conservation districts are directed by a governing body elected by the voters. Benton SWCD board members and staff are proudly committed to serving the residents of Benton County.

The Benton SWCD’s Strategic Plan

In 2015, Benton SWCD adopted our first Five Year Strategic Plan. You may read the 40+ page plan here. Or view the Strategic Plan Brochure.

The Benton SWCD’s mission is to engage Benton County residents in the conservation and stewardship of natural resources for current and future generations.

We envision a future where the Benton Soil and Water Conservation District’s services encourage people to value and enhance the resiliency and function of land and water from the floodplains of the Willamette River to the mountains and valleys of the Coast Range.

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 Salmon Watch field trips.
  • 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, Tree Planting Equipment, Seed Drill, Pasture Pump, and Soil Tunnel.
  • Represent soil and water conservation principles to local and state elected officials.