In April 1937 Oklahoma passed the Conservation District Enabling Act, giving citizens the opportunity to form their own conservation districts. The same Act created the agency known today as the Oklahoma Conservation Commission.
Conservation districts are legal subdivisions of state government, whose primary goal is to assist citizens in practicing wise use and management of the state’s renewable natural resources, especially its soil and water. Conservation districts continue to assist farmers and ranchers as in the past, but today also assist a larger segment of the public including community planners, public health officials, developers and rural and urban citizens. Districts also provide a variety of education materials and opportunities for students, and some lease or provide equipment to local landowners.
The entire state is divided into conservation districts, usually, but not always, along county lines. A five-member board of directors guides each district, three of which are elected by area voters in Conservation District Director Elections and two are appointed by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission based on local board recommendations.