The Idaho Soil & Water Conservation Commission held a press conference today at the Capitol to celebrate its 75th anniversary.
It was created by the Idaho Legislature in 1939 when nearly half the state — 27.2 million acres of farmland — were eroding away in the wind and the water. Its success, then and now, came fa public private partnership.
“Voluntary, proactive conservation work on Idaho’s private farmlands, rangelands and forest lands has been going since the Dust Bowl era and the Great Depression,” said H. Norman Wright, chairman of the Conservation Commission from American Falls.
Today the Commission, the Office of Species Conservation and the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service, work with local soil and water conservation districts, and private landowners on hundreds of ag-related conservation projects every year.
“More than $37.9 million in conservation projects were done in Idaho in 2013. These investments lead to spin-off jobs and income throughout the state.
Many of the projects help the state meet its requirements to improve water quality. Others improve habitat for fish and wildlife including endangered salmon and sage grouse.
“The agricultural lands of Idaho that provide our food, fiber and fuel are also critical in preserving our wildlife populations and the state’s outdoor heritage,” said Virgil Moore, Director of Idaho Fish and Game. “The Department recognizes and appreciates how important landowners are as stewards of wildlife habitat in Idaho.”