151 West Main Avenue Suite 3
Taylorsville, NC 28681
Natural Resources Conservation Service Staff
The Alexander Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors meets at 8:30am on the Third 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.
- Order Free Soil Survey
- Cost Share Programs
- Education Programs
- Quality Policy
- Soil And Water Links
Alexander Soil & Water Conservation District
151 West Main Avenue, Suite 3
Taylorsville, NC 28681
Agriculture Cost Share Program
Each year, the Alexander Soil & Water District is appropriated funds for this program 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.
Agricultural Water Resources Assistance Program
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. Projects must be able to show that they have an agricultural need for more water in order to be eligible for this program (for example: no water or limited water resources onsite). If applying for a pond practice, the pond water must be needed for some agricultural use to be eligible. In addition, the particular property must have been in agricultural production for at least one year prior to applying to be eligible. Applications are accepted throughout the year.
Community Conservation Assistance Program
The NC Soil and Water Conservation Commission administers this water quality program across the state. The Alexander Soil & Water Conservation District can apply for funds under this program to address non-point source pollution on lands that are not considered agricultural lands. These funds are awarded through a regional application process. They can be used 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.
Environmental Quality Incentives 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.
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 programs concerning soil and water conservation, agriculture, and other related subjects. For more information about any of our education programs, please contact Pamela Bowman at 828-632-0638 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 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 educate 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 requires student attention and participation in a wide range of conservation topics.
SWCD Annual Contests
Every year, the Alexander SWCD sponsors Poster, Essay, Computer Designed Slide Show, Public Speaking, and Computer Designed Poster Contests for 5th-9th grade Alexander County students. These contests are usually held in the late fall / early winter. They are a great way to educate students about environmental education, and the winners receive cash awards!
The Alexander SWCD Board of Supervisors and Staff would like to congratulate the 2021 Conservation Contest participants and winners on a job well done! We hope that these environmental contests will spark an interest in natural resource conservation in these students.
Although we were unable to hold an in person banquet as we usually do, the 2021 Annual Awards Banquet was shared virtually as a google slides presentation to honor the students who participated in this year’s education contests. You can view the virtual banquet here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1YoJRbacvP_xNtTdT8CDCYC0dqDu1t23QrOPsoEgrm0U/edit?usp=sharing
Topic 2022-2023: “Soil and Water…Yours for 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 300-500 word essay showing they understand the theme content, using innovative writing style with a clear message easily understood by the reader, correct grammar, and 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.
Computer Designed Slide Show Contest – 6th Grade
Students create a computer generated slide show of no more than 15 slides that gives a message on the current conservation theme. The work should be original, easy to read, and use good variations of text and graphics.
Public Speaking Contest -Grades 7 - 8
Students give a 4-6 minute speech and are judged on comprehension and knowledge of the 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.
Computer Designed Poster Contest – 9th Grade
Students create a computer generated poster depicting the contest theme. The posters are judged on the conservation message, visual effectiveness, universal appeal, and originality.
All contests follow guidelines established by the North Carolina Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts and are administered by the local districts.
The Envirothon is an outdoor environmental competition for middle school & high 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 hands on identification questions in the areas mentioned above. Study resources can be found at the following website: www.ncenvirothon.org
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, and the high scoring team from the State will receive an expense paid trip to the National competition (www.envirothon.org) where some of the prizes include scholarship monies.
The 2021 Northwest Envirothon was held as a virtual event. This year, the Alexander Soil and Water Conservation District was represented by three teams from East Alexander Middle School, as well as one team from Alexander Central High School in the area level NW Envirothon. EAMS team advisors were Valorie Chapman and Tina Walker. Alexander Central High School FFA team advisors were Tyler Mitchell and Scottie Cook. Visit the Area II website at https://www.area2swcd.org/home to find out more details.EAMS Envirthon Teams
5th Grade Environmental Field Days
Every year, all 5th grade students in the county participate in this environmental field day on a local dairy farm. On the farm, nine educational stations are set up which include Soils, Groundwater, Wildlife, Dairy Production, Weather & Climate, Forestry, Conservation Practices, GIS, and Poster Contest Theme . Students rotate throughout the stations during the day, getting a hands on experience with each topic. The day also includes locally produced apples and milk for a snack.
This year, the 5th grade students will be able to participate in a virtual field day via a PowerPoint presentation and a Wakelet that has been sent to all 5th grade classes in the county. If you would like to view this field day, contact Kellee Payne at email@example.com or Pamela Bowman at firstname.lastname@example.org
Food, Land & People Curriculum
The Food, Land & People curriculum offers lessons for Grades K-12 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.
Quality PolicyThe Conservation partnership pledges to provide quality and timely service to our customers through technical excellence, positive attitudes and teamwork.
Vision StatementThe 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.
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 Agriculture & Consumer Services.
- NRCS provides district conservationists and engineers to provide technical assistance with farm conservation plans, 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.
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
- NC Department of Environmental Quality
- Natural Resources Conservation Service
- National Agroforestry Center
- NC Division of Soil & Water Conservation
- NC Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts
- Alexander County
- US Department of Agriculture
- United States Geological Survey
- NC Dept. of Agriculture
- Successful Farming
The Alexander Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is now publishing "The Alexander SWCD Times" newsletter. The purpose of this newsletter is to keep the community informed of the programs we offer and to provide pertinent information.
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.