The RCD of Monterey County was established in 1942 as a non-regulatory
special local district, authorized under Division 9 of California
Public Resources Code. Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs),
formerly known as Soil Conservation Districts, are a form of non-regulatory
local government comparable to a Fire District. RCDs are political
subdivisions or the State of California, set up under California Public
Resource Code to be locally governed agencies with their own locally
appointed or elected, independent boards of directors.
To find out more about special districts, see this guide: “What’s
so Special About Special Districts”
In response to the national "Dust Bowl" crisis of the
1930s, when millions of acres of cropland were destroyed by drought
and the devastating loss of fertile topsoil, the federal government
passed legislation in 1937 to establish the Soil Conservation Service
(SCS), now called the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS),
under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Concern arose about whether
a federal agency would be responsive to local needs, so states were
asked to form Soil Conservation Districts led by local landowners
serving on boards of directors to work in collaboration with and
provide local input to guide the programmatic priorities of NRCS.
The NRCS provides assistance to growers, ranchers and landowners
only in areas with Resource Conservation Districts.
In 1938, the State of California recognized the importance of Soil
Conservation Districts and authorized their formation under Article
9 of Public Resource Code. Though not governed by the state, special
districts including RCDs are subject to state law concerning elections,
responsibilities and legal meetings. Under Article 9, Soil Conservation
Districts were originally empowered to manage soil and water resources
for conservation, but these powers were expanded in the early 1970s
to include "related resources," including water quality
and wildlife habitat. This expansion of powers was reflected in the
change of name from "Soil" Conservation Districts to "Resource" Conservation
Districts in 1971.
The California Association of RCDs (CARCD)
provides support and organization to the RCDs in California, which
number over 100.