Tulsa County Conservation District
One of the volunteer jobs I have enjoyed is serving on the Tulsa County Conservation District (TCCD) board of directors. Conservation districts were started in the late 1930s to help fight against the soil loss and water degradation caused by the Dust Bowl. The mission of the TCCD is to “To provide leadership in a partnership effort to help people conserve, maintain, and improve our natural resources and environment.”
The TCCD sometimes reminds me of the Hank Kimball character from the 60s TV show “Green Acres”. He was the scatter-brained county agent who would give Oliver Wendell Douglas well-intentioned farming advice. At other times, the district’s work seems similar to the work of a jungle tour guide when we take citizens through an overgrown creek bed taking water quality samples. But mostly, the work of the Tulsa County Conservation District reminds me of a rich relative who gives money away to improve lives.
The TCCD actually gives away money for landowners in Tulsa County to make improvements. The improvements include building ponds, planting vegetation, establishing native plants, installation of water tanks for livestock, removal of harmful plants like red cedar trees, and planting small strips of windbreaks between croplands.
The particulars for qualifying for financial assistance vary. Some of the programs require the owner to have at least 20 acres and have shown income from the land at a certain level. Other programs require the landowner to offer an easement through their property for three decades. Most of the grants also have a limit of $5,000 and only pay 75% of the cost of the improvement.
All of these programs offer money to landowners of Tulsa County. This money is capped so there is only so much to give away each year, but because Tulsa County is becoming more and more urbanized, we at the TCCD have had trouble finding enough landowners to apply and qualify for assistance. If you are a landowner in Tulsa County with enough land to raise crops or livestock and would like some financial assistance, please call the district at 918 280-1596 or go by the offices at 5401 S. Sheridan Road.
Proof of the work done over the past 75 years can be seen throughout Tulsa County, and thanks to this work, our homes are located in an area that has gone from “Dust Bowl” to “Green Country.”