Who We Are
The Oconee Soil and Water Conservation District is dedicated to the preservation and protection of the natural resources of Oconee County and all of South Carolina. Our main mission is to teach about the wise use of our natural resources. We are proud to step forward and make a difference in the conservation of our area and beyond. Our office offers many programs that can be of benefit to farmers, woodlot and forest owners, conservation stewards, nature enthusiasts, home gardeners and more.
The Oconee Soil and Water Conservation District's Mission is three-fold:
- To provide technical and financial assistance to install conservation practices on private and public lands;
- To promote sustainable agriculture; and
- To educate the public about the wise use of natural resources.
Read more about the OSWCD in our annual reports. (Click below to download or view online.)
2021 Annual Report
Conservation districts developed from the Soil Conservation Service, implemented in the 1930's, to help solve the problems of erosion and the devastating results that gave rise to the Dust Bowl. By teaching the public about better farm related planting practices, conservation saved our precious top soil and water resources, and placed a focus on preserving the soil, instead of using it to its own detriment.
Soil conservation districts are now designated by county boundaries to better form a localized effort to meet the local needs of the area. Oconee District was the very first district in the nation to have a conservation farm plan written. This took place in 1938, on the farm of Mrs. Ploma M. Adams; and it included 330 acres, west of the City of Seneca, SC. That farm has since been lost to development, because, at that time, no thought was put forth to protect special places from development, after the original owners passed away. We now have conservation easements that will allow a landowner to make decisions about how their property will be used into perpetuity.
The Oconee Soil and Water Conservation District has one of the best easement programs in the state to help property owners preserve their property, in its existing condition; and it has preserved over 2,700 acres of prime South Carolina farm land and forest land. We will continue to promote the wise use and preservation of natural resources through this and other programs.
Links to Outside Agencies and Services
Clemson Extension employs Extension Agents who work closely with state extension specialists and researchers located on campus and at the various research and education centers located across the state. Your local Extension Agents provide expertise in Agribusiness, Agronomy, Food Safety & Nutrition, Horticulture, Livestock & Forages, Forestry and Wildlife Resources, Water Resources, and 4-H and Youth Development.
SC Department of Natural Resources
The SCDNR mission is to serve as the principal advocate for and steward of South Carolina’s natural resources. Their vision for South Carolina is an enhanced quality of life for present and future generations through improved understanding, wise use, and safe enjoyment of healthy, diverse, sustainable and accessible natural resources; and for the DNR to be a trusted and respected leader in natural resources protection and management, by consistently making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.
SC Forestry Commission - Oconee County Contacts
The mission of the South Carolina Forestry Commission is to protect, promote, enhance, and nurture the forest lands of South Carolina in a manner consistent with achieving the greatest good for its citizens. Responsibilities extend to all forest lands, both rural and urban, and to all associated forest values and amenities including, but not limited to, timber, wildlife, water quality, air quality, soil protection, recreation, and aesthetics.
The SC Land Conservation Bank works to improve the quality of life in South Carolina through the conservation of significant natural resource lands, wetlands, historical properties, archeological sites, and urban parks.
Upstate Forever is a nonprofit conservation organization that protects critical lands, waters, and the unique character of Upstate South Carolina. Upstate Forever works with landowners, communities, and local stakeholders to balance growth with the protection of our natural resources. We focus our work on the ten counties of Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg and Union.