Soil and Water





The Alexander Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors meets at 8:30 a.m. on the fourth Thursday of every month in the District Office. Alexander County is a rural county nestled in the foothills of the Brushy & the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina. The county seat is Taylorsville, established in 1847. Approximately 2/3 of the county is farmland. Major commodities include poultry, dairy, tobacco, apples, forestry products, grain crops and beef cattle with income at approximately $6.5 million yearly.

We will be holding a sign-up period for the North Carolina Agriculture Cost Share Program (ACSP) for the current program year from July 1 – July 31st. See the Agriculture Cost Share Program link below or call our office for more program details.

Quality Policy

The Conservation partnership pledges to provide quality and timely service to our customers through technical excellence, positive attitudes and teamwork.

Vision Statement

The Alexander Soil & Water Conservation District along with the NRCS is a dynamic partnership committed to quality leadership and customer service for the conservation of our natural resources.

Each year, the Alexander Soil & Water District is appropriated funds from the N.C. Soil and Water Conservation Commission. These program dollars are allocated from the state to address non-point source pollution from agricultural activities. They are available to assist farmers in the installation of conservation practices which help decrease the amount of sediment, animal waste, nutrients, chemicals and other potential pollutants from entering the surface and ground waters of the state. Landowners and operators that are in agricultural production for at least three years may apply for cost share assistance to install Best Management Practices (BMP’s) on their farm. These BMP’s include: sediment & erosion control, litter storage structures, poultry composters, livestock exclusion from streams in conjunction with alternative watering systems, stocktrails and heavy-use areas for livestock in confined areas, and other practices that benefit water quality. Alexander Soil & Water District’s program year begins each year on July 1st and runs through June 30th. Typically, the Alexander Soil & Water District will have a one month sign-up period to accept new program year applications. All applications will be prioritized according to a locally adopted ranking process based on water quality parameters. The applications providing the most water quality benefits will be approved for funding in priority order. Any applications that are not funded in the first batching period will be considered for funding if additional program dollars become available later in the year. Any applications not funded from the previous program year will be rolled over into the first batching period the following program year.

Each year, the Alexander Soil & Water Conservation District also receives funds from the NC Soil and Water Conservation Commission to address non-agricultural non-point source pollution. These funds are available to assist schools, local government entities, landowners, and business owners with the installation of conservation practices which help to reduce sedimentation to streams and/or treat stormwater before entering streams. Potential sites must have been developed or released from a sediment and erosion control permit for at least three years to be eligible for cost share assistance. Potential best management practices (BMP’s) include: critical area planting, stormwater wetlands, cisterns, and other practices that benefit water quality. Alexander Soil & Water District’s program year begins each year on July 1st and runs through June 30th. Currently, the Alexander Soil & Water District accepts CCAP (non-ag) applications all year long. Projects are prioritized according to a locally adopted ranking process based on water quality parameters. The applications providing the most water quality benefits will be approved for funding in priority order. Any applications that are not funded initially in the current program year will be considered for funding if additional program dollars become available later in the year. In addition, any applications not funded from the previous program year will be rolled over into the following program year.

The NC Soil and Water Conservation Commission administers this water quantity program across the state. The Alexander Soil & Water Conservation District can apply for funds under this program to address water quantity issues on farmlands. Best management practices (BMP’s) that may be offered include: new pond construction, pond repair/retrofit, pond sediment removal, new wells, conservation irrigation, and other practices that address water availability on agricultural lands. Since this program is currently only offered on a statewide application process, new applications are considered for funding throughout the year when state funds are available. Projects must be able to show that they have an agricultural need for more water in order to be eligible for this program.

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a federal cost share program administered through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that addresses natural resource concerns on agricultural lands. Financial and technical assistance may be available for the installation of best management practices (BMP’s) through this program. EQIP BMP’s are similar to ACSP BMP’s and include: sediment & erosion control, litter storage structures, poultry composters, livestock exclusion from streams in conjunction with alternative watering systems, stocktrails and heavy-use areas for livestock in confined areas, and other practices that benefit water quality. Applications for EQIP are taken all year long, but decisions on funding are only made at set batching periods throughout the year. Contact the District office for more information.

Education Programs

The Alexander SWCD is available to all Alexander County Schools (k-12). Teachers, we can come to your school to help you meet your environmental education objectives. We teach various types of programs concerning soil water conservation. For more information about education programs, please call 828-632-0638.


Enviroscape

Enviroscape is a unique, interactive learning tool that helps people of all ages make a visual connection between land use and water quality. It is a tabletop hands on model that shows the origin of both point and nonpoint sources of water pollution and how watersheds work. This model is a great way to education students. It makes complex issues much clearer and helps students and people to understand how to prevent water pollution in their own communities. Once they see it, they don’t forget it.


Resource Conservation Workshop

Annually the Alexander SWCD sponsors one Sophomore, Junior or Senior to participate in the Resource Conservation Workshop. This workshop is held in Raleigh on the campus of North Carolina State University usually the last week in June each year. Students who have demonstrated advanced maturity and an interest in natural resource conservation are encouraged to apply. High school graduates are NOT eligible to participate in the Resource Conservation Workshop. The Alexander SWCD Board of Supervisors will choose the participant and will pay for the costs. This week of intensive study requiring student attention and participation in a wide range of conservation topics.

Poster, Essay, Speech Contest

The Alexander SWCD sponsors a Poster, Essay and Speech Contest for all Alexander County students. This contest is usually held in the late fall / early winter. It is a great way to educate students about environmental education.

Topic 2005 – 2006: Water, the Cycle of Life

Poster Contest – 5th Grade

Students must create original posters depicting a story about the current contest theme. Posters are judged on the conservation message, visual effectiveness, and universal appeal.

Essay Contest – Grade 6

Students write a 400-600 word essay showing they understand the theme content, using innovative writing style with a clear message easily understood by reader, correct grammar, proper paragraph transitions with good opening and closing tie-in with the theme. Essays should be neat and meet all contest rules in order to be considered.

Public Speaking Contest -Grades 7 – 8

Students gave a 4-6 minute speech and are judged on comprehension and knowledge of subject, organization, originality, skillful use of facts, example, descriptions, speaking skills such as voice and diction, style, body language, poise, eye contact and rapport with the audience.

All contests follow guidelines established by the North Carolina Association of Soil Conservation Association and are administered by the local districts.

Envirothon

Envirothon is an outdoor environmental competition for High & Middle school students, to compete with other teams in a natural resources knowledge and ecology field day. Teams, made up of 5 members compete in the following 5 areas: Soils, Forestry, Wildlife, Aquatics and Current Environmental Issues. Students work together as a team to answer each of the test questions. The competition is based on written and hand on identification questions in the areas mentioned above.

The Area II Northwest Envirothon (13 counties) is held at the McGee Center in Wilkesboro. The top 7 teams from the Area will advance to the State competition ( http://www.enr.state.nc.us/DSWC/pages/envirothon.aspl )and the high scoring team from the State will receive an expense paid trip to the National competition (http://www.envirothon.org/) where some of the prizes include scholarship monies.


5th Grade Environmental Field Days

An environmental field Trip for all 5 th grade students in the county. Students visit a local dairy farm. On the farm, eight educational stations are set up which include Soils, Groundwater, Wildlife, Dairy Production, Food, land & People, Forestry, Conservation Practices and Wetlands . Students rotate through out the stations during the day, getting a hands on experience with each topic. The day also includes, hay rides to two of the stations and locally grown snacks including produced apples and milk.


Food, Land & People Curriculum

Food, Land & People for Grades K-12. Lessons that show the interdependence of food production, land management, and human needs. Food, Land & People is a national agricultural and environmental education program, which seeks to inspire and educate children and adults about the critical role of American agriculture in sustaining our food supply and conserving our environment for future generations. The program has developed a manual which contains many lesson plans. These lessons have been correlated to the new K-12 science objectives for NC. Workshops will be conducted for educators to become facilitators for the program. If you are interested in learning more about Food, Land & People, please contact the district at (828) 632-0638.

What does the Alexander Soil & Water Conservation District do?

  • Soil & Water Conservation Districts are political subdivisions of state government.
  • There are 96 of them in North Carolina, covering the state’s 100 counties.
  • The Alexander County Soil & Water District develops farm conservation plans, identifies and plans local resource conservation work and coordinates the conservation efforts of federal and state agencies within the district.
  • The districts work closely with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Division of Soil and Water Conservation in the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
  • NRCS provides district conservationists and engineers to provide technical assistance with farm conservation plans and design and implementation of best management practices.
  • The division provides financial, technical and administrative support to the districts.
  • Technical assistance can be provided to the landowner in varying capacities based on his/her needs.
  • The district also provides educational services for schools, civic groups, and any organization.

If you have any questions regarding what our office is capable of, please call us at: (828) 632-0638.


Free Services Offered

  • Soil Surveys
  • NRCS Program Info
  • Ag. Cost Share Program Info
  • Educational Materials
  • Voluntary Farmland Preservation Program
  • Farm Conservation Planning
  • Soil, Topo, and Other Maps
  • Soil Sample Boxes

Call: (828) 632-0638
E-mail: lmeadows@alexandercountync.gov
Alexander Soil & Water Conservation District
374 1st Avenue SW
Taylorsville, NC 28681

We are here to help you with your conservation needs and questions.
Click on the sign below to view the Alexander County Voluntary Farmland Preservation Program Ordinance.