Mission and Purpose
“The mission of the Ocean County Soil Conservation District is to provide leadership in the planning and implementation of natural resource management programs for the development of communities, agriculture, and the general public through a locally based delivery system in coordination with local, state and federal partners.”
What is a Soil Conservation District?
The Ocean County Soil Conservation District (OCSCD) is one of fourteen Soil Conservation Districts in New Jersey that all work together to implement the New Jersey Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Act, which governs various aspects of new development. OCSCD is a subdivision of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, however, is locally governed, and operates within the boundaries of Ocean County.
Conservation districts in the United States trace their formation to the 1930s, when national attention was focused on the crisis of the Dust Bowl. In 1935, Congress passed Public Law 46, declaring soil and water conservation a national policy. In 1937 President Franklin D. Roosevelt recommended that states allow landowners to form soil and water conservation districts. Today, there are more than 3,000 conservation districts across the country.
Ocean County Soil Conservation District
The birth of the Ocean County Soil Conservation District (OCSCD) came in 1952, when a group of passionate citizens wanted to set themselves apart from the “Camburton Soil Conservation District” (comprised of Ocean, Camden and Burlington Counties), 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, known as the Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Act (SESC). This law 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. OCSCD implements specified regulations on construction and development sites and agricultural sites in Ocean County.
This legislation 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.
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.
OCSCD has developed a robust 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 New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the USDA-NRCS and Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Ocean County have served to enhance our education and outreach efforts. Visit our Education page to learn more about the programs we offer to schools and community groups.
OCSCD has also developed strong partnerships with numerous organizations and agencies in Ocean County and throughout the state. Through these collaborative efforts, OCSCD has implemented a diverse suite of projects that help create healthy soil, clean water and a livable landscape for people and wildlife. Visit our Projects page to learn more!
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.