In 1937, as a result of the national “Dust Bowl” crisis, (when millions of acres of farmland were destroyed due to drought and erosion) the federal government passed legislation that established the Soil Conservation Service (SCS).
To increase the ability to respond to specific local needs, the states formed “Soil Conservation Districts” that were controlled by local boards of directors. In California, Soil Conservation Districts began forming in the 1940s, and today there are 98 districts throughout the state.
The first Soil Conservation District in Yolo County was formed in 1955, after which two others formed. Those three districts (Western Yolo, Hungry Hollow and Capay Valley SCDs) consolidated in 1977 to form a single conservation district. In the early 1970s, these districts that were originally empowered to address soil and water issues, expanded their emphasis to also include “related resources” such as fish and wildlife habitat enhancement, restoration and the control of exotic plant species. This broadening of scope was reflected in the name change in 1971 from “Soil Conservation” to “Resource Conservation Districts.”