Soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) were written into state law in the 1930’s after the devastation of the Dust Bowl – a consequence of drought conditions and farming without conservation. These local units of government were formed across the nation to help citizens conserve soil, water, and other natural resources. They helped create a link between government resources and local landowners to increase the application of conservation on private land.
Polk County officially formed its own soil and water conservation district in 1945. The district is governed by a board of five elected commissioners and appointed assistant commissioners. These individuals make decisions on how federal and state conservation funds should be used across the county. Since it’s formation, the district has expanded their services by providing outreach to the urban community and establishing new partnerships to insure long-term problem solving through the use workshops, trainings, and cost share programs.
Over the past 20 years, Polk SWCD has also taken a lead on watershed based efforts in Central Iowa. By working with local partners and residents to address local issues, the district has taken a part in tackling issues such as bacteria and algae blooms in Big Creek Lake, flooding in Fourmile Creek, stormwater pollution in Easter Lake, and many others. Through grant funding and local partnerships, the district has grown to include a staff of watershed coordinators to better serve Central Iowa.
For additional information about the function of soil and water conservation districts, visit Io Iowa Code 161a, here!
Polk Soil and Water Conservation District Mission
To provide leadership to help people improve, conserve, and sustain our natural resources while educating them about the importance and practicality of maintaining our environment and quality of life.
Polk Soil and Water Conservation District is lead by a board of five elected commissioners who serve four-year terms. This board provides oversight and leadership to serve Polk County residents and achieve the district’s mission. Click on pictures below for additional information about each commissioner.
In addition to elected commissioners, assistant commissioners are an appointed position. Assistant commissioners serve as an advisor to the board, providing input and serving on district committees. If you are interested in being an assistant commissioner, feel free to reach out to a commissioner or district staff for more information. This role provides many great opportunities for interested people, from a leadership role to an opportunity to learn and help your local watersheds.
Polk County staff is composed of a partnership between state, district, and federal employees working together to address local soil and water issues. All working out of the Ankeny Field Office, staff serve various roles focused on meeting local needs.
Our document's section is comprised of Monthly Meeting Notes & Annual Reports, which can be downloaded at your convenience. Never worry about missing a meeting, our team will upload meeting agendas and notes.
The Polk SWCD Board of Commissioners meet the third Tuesday of every month.
Each year the Polk SWCD creates an annual report highlighting the past years accomplishments.