The Middle Park Conservation District is a political subdivision of the State of Colorado formed under the Colorado Soil Conservation Act of 1937. The Middle Park Conservation District has the second highest average elevation of any conservation district in the nation of 8,000 feet above sea level, on average. It is located high in the western slope of the Continental Divide at the headwaters of the Colorado River in Grand and Summit Counties. The topography is characterized by rough, steep sloping mountains, gently sloping to rolling mesas, and valley bottoms dissected by numerous creeks and rivers. Most land adjacent to these drainages is flood irrigated pastures and hay meadows, although some of those lands are succumbing to development.
According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Crop Scape Data, the following crops/ecosystems predominate Middle Park (Grand and Summit Counties combined). These figures are not official but provide a good representation. (http://nassgeodata.gmu.edu/CropScape/).
Evergreen Forest: ~740,500 acres (46.5%)
Shrubland: ~383,200 acres (24.0%)
Grass/Pasture: ~181,000 acres (11.4%)
Barren: ~69,194 acres (4.3%)
Perennial Snow/Ice: ~63,600 acres (4%)
Deciduous Forest: ~59,150 acres (3.7%)
Alfalfa/Other Hay: ~28,700 acres (1.8%)
Wetlands: ~27,400 acres (1.7%)
Open Water: ~19,350 acres (1.2%)
Developed/Semi-Developed: ~20,600 aces (1.3%)
Mixed Forest: ~800 acres (0.05%)
Other: ~14 (0.001%)
Landownership in Middle Park (Grand and Summit combined):
United States of America: ~1,127,300 acres (70.8%)
Private: ~389,000 acres (24.4%)
State of Colorado: ~50,500 acres (3.2%)
Roads: ~16,300 acres (1.0%)
County: ~8,800 acres (0.6%)
TOTAL: ~1,592,000 acres (~1,196,000 in Grand, ~396,000 in Summit)
The Middle Park Conservation District is dedicated to the protection of natural resources and the wise use of land, soil, water, air, wildlife and related natural resources through education, program administration, and technical assistance for the benefit of all. We are committed to good land stewardship and sustainable use practices within Summit and Grand Counties.
The Middle Park Conservation District will be a recognized and respected leader in the community by fostering natural resources conservation and cooperation among government officials, non-governmental groups, developers, community organizations and associations, land owners and the general public through education, technical assistance, and planning.
History of Conservation Districts
The following summary is provided to you by the National Association of Conservation Districts (http://www.nacdnet.org/about/districts/history).
Dust Bowl Photo By: Chris Johns, NatGeo, Getty Images
“In the early 1930s, along with the greatest depression this nation ever experienced, came an equally unparalleled ecological disaster known as the Dust Bowl. Following a severe and sustained drought in the Great Plains, the region’s soil began to erode and blow away, creating huge black dust storms that blotted out the sun and swallowed the countryside. Thousands of “dust refugees” left the black fog to seek better lives.
On Capitol Hill, while testifying about the erosion problem, soil scientist Hugh Hammond Bennett threw back the curtains to reveal a sky blackened by dust. Congress unanimously passed legislation declaring soil and water conservation a national policy and priority. Because nearly three-fourths of the continental United States is privately owned, Congress realized that only active, voluntary support from landowners would guarantee the success of conservation work on private land.
In 1937, President Roosevelt wrote the governors of all the states recommending legislation that would allow local landowners to form soil conservation districts. The movement caught on across the country with district-enabling legislation passed in every state. Today, the country is blanketed with nearly 3,000 conservation districts.”
The Middle Park Conservation District (MPCD) was formed in 1957 by local agriculture producers from Grand and Summit Counties. Since then, our focus has expanded to include smaller landowners who may not be ag producers. The District is under the operation of a locally elected Board of Supervisors and is required to obey the regulations of the Colorado Soil Conservation Act. It employs one staff member, a District Manager/Executive Director. The District’s funding comes from the state Direct Assistance Fund, as well as the sale of grass seed, tree seedlings, tire tanks, and polyacrylamide.