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July 17, 2022: Conservation District Day

WHEREAS, Michigan’s first Soil Conservation District law was a legislative response to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and substantial drought across the nation; and,

WHEREAS, the devastation left by the Dust Bowl was a tragic wake-up call that productive soil and clean water are vital for the daily sustenance and food security of all residents; and,

WHEREAS, Michigan Public Act 297 of 1937, which established Conservation Districts, was introduced, heard before committee, passed by both Chambers of the Legislature, and signed into law by Governor Frank Murphy in only 96 days with great urgency; and, 

WHEREAS, today is the 85th anniversary of the passage of this act; and,

WHEREAS, the original intent of this historic law was to conserve Michigan’s bountiful natural resources, preserve wildlife, protect the tax base and working lands of this state, and promote the health and safety of the people of Michigan; and,

WHEREAS, Conservation Districts, through a local resource assessment process, prioritize the most pressing soil, water, and habitat resource issues in their communities and identify financial and technical resources needed to address those issues on agricultural and forested working lands; and,

WHEREAS, the scope and responsibility of Conservation Districts have grown to include work such as invasive species management, forestland habitat management, conservation education and outreach, soil erosion control, farm and farmland protection, and much more; and,

WHEREAS, soil and water will forever be preeminent natural resources that support major economic sectors of our state, including agriculture, energy, forestry, and recreation; and,

WHEREAS, after more than 80 years, Conservation District Boards of Directors and its staff have contributed to the natural resource management of the working lands across every county and every watershed in Michigan; and,

WHEREAS, Conservation Districts assist in securing millions in local, state, federal, and private dollars for farmers and producers to implement conservation programs on private working lands that address the most pressing resource issues, support the economy through natural resource enhancement and tourism, and protect and conserve Michigan’s most beautiful places;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim July 17, 2022 as Conservation District Day in Michigan.