About the District

Mission and Purpose

“This mission of the New Jersey conservation partnership is to provide leadership in the planning and implementation of natural resource management programs for the agricultural and development of communities and the general public through a locally based delivery system in coordination with local, state and federal partners”

The Ocean County Soil Conservation District (OCSCD), which originated in 1952, is one of fifteen Soil Conservation Districts in NJ that all work together to implement the New Jersey Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Act, which governs various aspects of new development.  The OCSCD is a sub-division of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, however is locally governed, and operates within the boundaries of Ocean County.

Due to the crisis of the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s, Congress passed Public Law 46, declaring soil and water conservation a national policy, and in 1937 President Franklin D. Roosevelt recommended that states allow landowners to form soil and water conservation districts.  Today, there are close to 3,000 conservation districts across the country.

The birth of the Ocean County Soil Conservation District came in 1952 from a group of passionate citizens, who wanted to set themselves apart from the then established “Camburton Soil Conservation District” (comprised of Ocean, Camden and Burlington Counties).  In 1975, the NJ State Legislature enacted Chapter 251, P.L. 1975, or the Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Act, which mandates that a municipality cannot issue a construction permit unless the local soil conservation district has reviewed and certified a soil erosion and sediment control plan for that construction.  The OCSCD implements this law on construction and development sites, as well as supporting the agricultural industries within Ocean County.

The OCSCD has also developed an education program designed to heighten awareness about the importance of natural resources and their conservation and to promote environmental stewardship throughout the Barnegat Bay watershed. Partnerships and combined efforts with agencies such as the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, the USDA-NRCS and Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean County have served to enhance our education efforts.

What is a soil conservation district?

Conservation districts in the United States trace their formation to the 1930s, when national attention was focused on the crisis of the Dust Bowl.  Congress passed Public Law 46 in 1935, declaring soil and water conservation a national policy, and in 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt recommended that states allow landowners to form soil and water conservation districts.  Today, there are close to 3000 conservation districts across the country.

The Ocean County Soil Conservation District (OCSCD) is one of fifteen districts in New Jersey established under Chapter 24, Title 4 of the revised statutes of 1937.

This legislation declared the policy of the Legislature through the State Soil Conservation Committee and local soil conservation districts, and provides for conservation of soil and water resources and the control and prevention of soil erosion in New Jersey. Local districts are responsible for conservation programs within their geographic areas as covered by the political boundaries of their respective counties.  A Board of Supervisors, five local residents who are recommended by a local nominating committee and appointed by the State Soil Conservation Committee, administers each district.

In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt recommended that states allow landowners to form soil and water conservation districts.  Today, there are close to 3000 conservation districts across the country.

Ocean County’s Soil Conservation District

OCSCD was organized in 1952.   Prior to that time, OceanCounty (along with Camden and Burlington Counties) was included in the Camburton Soil Conservation District, which had been established in 1938.

In 1975, due to serious erosion and sedimentation problems arising from urban development, the New Jersey State Legislature enacted Chapter 251, P.L. 1975, the Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Act.   This legislation mandated that a municipality cannot issue a construction permit unless the local soil conservation district has reviewed and certified a soil erosion and sediment control plan for that construction.

OCSCD’s involvement in conservation has expanded over the years, keeping pace with the continuing development and growth of Ocean County.  Its mission is now multi-faceted, including the enforcement of Chapter 251, education and public outreach programs, and the research and development of techniques to improve soil health and water quality.


New Jersey Department of Agriculture

State Soil Conservation Committee and Soil Conservation Districts

The Natural Resource Conservation programs provide engineering services and regulatory guidance to soil conservation districts, homeowners, engineers, planners and virtually all development activities. The Division provides technical standards applicable to construction and mining sites regulated by the Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Act program and policies and procedures associated with the Stormwater Permitting program. In addition, the Division conducts Conservation Education programs such as the Envirothon, and Poster and Bumper Sticker Contest. These programs are designed to promote the conservation of renewable resources.

Division watershed staff work in partnership with State, County and Local agencies in the development of watershed models for Regional Stormwater Management Planning.