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.
- New Deal,
- Soil and Water Conservation Districts,
- Land Use Regulation,
- Environmental History