In 1935, the federal government passed the Soil Conservation Act in response to the devastation of the Dust Bowl. The Act was passed to provide conservation assistance to ranchers, farmers and other private landowners. Conservationists quickly realized that a centrally governed federal agency in Washington could not be as responsive to local needs, so local counterparts of the Soil Conservation Service were set up under state law to be controlled by local boards of directors. And so was born the Soil Conservation Districts, now known as Resource Conservation Districts.
Today there are nearly 3000 conservation districts nationwide with more than 100 in California to conserve land, water, forests, wildlife and related resources. The Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District (CSLRCD) began as the Arroyo Grande Resource Conservation District and was established in 1953. Charter members were Edwin M. Taylor, Manuel F, Silva, Ed. Campodonica, Keith A. Rapp and Lester Sullivan. The flooding of farmland from Arroyo Grande Creek was a yearly occurrence, and these farmers worked tirelessly to solve the problem. Under Division 9 of the Public Resources Code, they received technical assistance from the USDA Soil Conservation Service.
Since then, the CSLRCD has expanded its area to include Nipomo Mesa and Oso Flaco Lake to the south, and Morro Bay to the north, with a total land area of 463,024 acres.
Over the past 50 years, the CSLRCD has accomplished numerous conservation projects with grants and the dedicated efforts of unpaid Directors, and more recently with the assistance of a small staff.
Some of our project accomplishments include:
- Completion of the 2006 “Arroyo Grande Creek Erosion, Sedimentation and Flooding Alternatives Study”, which is providing the basis for SLO County’s development of a Waterway Management Plan for the Arroyo Grande Flood Control Channel.
- Restoration of Pismo Lake Ecological Preserve.
- Rehabilitation of the Swinging Bridge in Arroyo Grande.
- Enhancement of steelhead habitat in Chorro Creek.
- Completion of water quality projects incorporating 150 best management practices in the Morro Bay watershed in partnership with Natural Resource Conservation Service, Morro Bay National Estuary Program, State Coastal Conservancy, State Water Resources Control Board, Packard Foundation, and dozens of landowners.
- Restoration and enhancement of Chorro Flats for sediment capture, agricultural preservation and wildlife habitat.
These projects and many others are only made possible with the support of numerous grant sour and partnerships.