A Vision of the New Deal Unfulfilled? Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Land Use Regulation

29 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2007


This Note evaluates the role of soil and water conservation districts as a part of the environmental component of New Deal era policymaking. This Note is specifically focused on exploring the nature of the regulatory authority that was granted to the conservation districts at the time most states passed the district enabling legislation and the role this authority play in addressing conservation problems on the local level. States granted districts two types of authority: projects and regulatory. Projects power - or the ability of the districts to promote conservation through demonstration stations, and educational efforts has been the dominant activity of the districts throughout their history. On the other hand, regulatory authority - the ability to pass local regulations governing land use - has rarely been utilized. This Note addresses the reasons this authority was not fully utilized and the forces that opposed the utilization of this district regulatory authority. In conclusion, this Note follows a modern use of district regulatory authority in Montana's Rosebud Conservation District and provides a framework for expanded use of regulatory authority in addressing local environmental problems.

Keywords: Agricultural Law, Soil and Water Conservation, New Deal, Land Use

JEL Classification: K32, O13, N52

Suggested Citation

Phelps, Jess R., A Vision of the New Deal Unfulfilled? Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Land Use Regulation. Drake Journal of Agricultural Law, Vol. 11, p. 353, 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=979108

Jess R. Phelps (Contact Author)

The Lyme Timber Company LP ( email )

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