1. CONSERVATION DISTRICT LAW Act of May 15, 1945, P.L. 547, No. 217
      1. CONSERVATION DISTRICT LAW Act of May 15, 1945, P.L. 547, No. 217 C1.03
      2. AN ACT
      3. Corrected copy as provided by the Legislative Reference Bureau
      4. TABLE OF CONTENTS
      5. Section 1. Short title.
      6. Section 3. Definitions.
      7. Section 10. Cooperation between Districts.
      8. Section 14. Funding.
      9. Section 17. Effective Date
      10. APPENDIX
      11. Supplementary Provisions of Amendatory Statutes
      12. 1986, APRIL 30, P.L.128, NO.39
      13. Section 2.
      14. Section 4.
      15. 1995, JUNE 28, P.L.89, NO.18
      16. Section 503.

CONSERVATION DISTRICT LAW
Act of May 15, 1945, P.L. 547, No. 217
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Department of Environmental Protection
www.depweb.state.pa.us

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CONSERVATION DISTRICT LAW
Act of May 15, 1945, P.L. 547, No. 217
C1.03
(Act reenacted and amended Dec. 19, 1984, P.L.1125, No.221)
(This publication includes the July 9, 2008, P.L. 986, No. 75 amendments)
AN ACT
Relating to the conservation of soil, water and related natural resources and land use
practices contributing to soil wastage and soil erosion; providing for the organization of
the various counties into conservation districts; the appointment of their officers and
employes; and prescribing their powers and duties; creating the State Conservation
Commission in the Department of Environmental Resources and fixing its powers and
duties relative to the administration of this act; providing financial and legal assistance
to such conservation districts and the commission; and authorizing county governing
bodies to make appropriations thereto; providing for disposition and operation of
existing districts; and repealing existing laws. (Title amended Dec. 19, 1984, P.L.1125,
No.221)
Compiler's Note:
Section 502(c) of Act 18 of 1995, which created the Department of
Conservation and Natural Resources and renamed the Department of Environmental
Resources as the Department of Environmental Protection, provided that the
Environmental Quality Board shall have the powers and duties currently vested in it,
except as vested in the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources by Act 18 of
1995, which powers and duties include those set forth in Act 217 of 1945.
Corrected copy as provided by the Legislative Reference Bureau

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Section 1. Short Title.
Section 2. Declaration of Policy.
Section 3. Definitions.
Section 4. State Conservation Commission.
Section 5. Creation of Conservation Districts.
Section 6. Designation of District Directors.
Section 7. Appointment; Qualifications; Compensation; and
Tenure of Directors.
Section 8. Organization of Directors.
Section 9. Powers of Districts and Directors.
Section 10. Cooperation between Districts.
Section 11. Commonwealth Agencies to Cooperate.
Section 12. Discontinuance of Districts.
Section 13. County Governing Body's Appropriations.
Section 14. Funding.
Section 15. Acts Repealed.
Section 16. Contracts to Remain in Force.
Section 17. Effective Date.
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The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Short title.
This act shall be known and cited as the “Conservation District Law”.
Section 2. Declaration of Policy.
It is hereby declared to be the policy of the Commonwealth:
(1) To provide for the conservation of the soil, water and related resources of this Commonwealth, and
for the control and prevention of soil erosion, and thereby to preserve natural resources; assist in the
control of floods; assist in developing and implementing plans for storm water management; prevent
impairment of dams and reservoirs; assist in maintaining the navigability of rivers and harbors; protect air
quality; preserve wildlife; preserve the tax base; protect public lands; and protect and promote the health,
safety and general welfare of the people of the Commonwealth.
(2) To designate conservation districts as a primary local government unit responsible for the
conservation of natural resources in this Commonwealth and to be responsible for implementing
programs, projects and activities to quantify, prevent and control nonpoint sources of pollution.
(3) To authorize and encourage conservation districts to work in close cooperation with landowners
and occupiers, agencies of Federal and State Government, other local and county government units and
other entities identified and approved by the commission for the purposes of effectuating programs and
policies under this act. (2 amended July 9, 2008, P.L.986, No. 75)
Section 3. Definitions.
Wherever used or referred to in this act unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
(a) "Commonwealth" means the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
(b) "Agency of this Commonwealth" includes the government of this Commonwealth and any
subdivision, agency or instrumentality, corporate or otherwise, of the government of this Commonwealth.
(c) "District" or "conservation district" means any county in the Commonwealth whose county
governing body has, by resolution, declared said county to be a conservation district.
(d) "County governing body" means the board of county commissioners or that body that has
responsibility or authority relating to the conservation district.
(e) "Directors" or "Board of directors" means the governing body of a conservation district appointed
under the provision of this act.
(f) "Commission" means the State Conservation Commission created by this act.
(g) "United States" or "Agency of the United States" includes the United States Department of
Agriculture and any other agency or instrumentality, corporate or otherwise, of the government of the
United States of America.
(h) "Government" or "governmental" includes the government of this Commonwealth and the
government of the United States.
(i) "Land occupier" or "occupier of land" includes any person, firm or corporation who shall hold
title to, or shall be in possession of, any lands lying within a conservation district, organized under the
provisions of this act, whether as owner, lessee, renter, tenant or otherwise.
(j) "Cooperating organization" is any organization approved by the commission to assist in carrying
out the provisions of this act.
(k) "Nominating organization" is any organization approved under section 4 for the purpose of
nominating district directors.
(l) "County" includes cities of the first class.
(m) "Department" means the Department of Environmental Protection. ((m) amended July 9, 2008,
P.L.986, No.75)
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Section 4. State Conservation Commission.
(1) There is hereby created the State Conservation Commission, which shall be a departmental
administrative commission under the concurrent authority of the department and the Department of
Agriculture, with all the powers and duties generally vested in, and imposed upon, such commissions by
the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.177, No.175), known as "The Administrative Code of 1929."
(a) The commission shall be administratively housed within the Department of Agriculture and shall
be staffed and supported by both the department and the Department of Agriculture.
(b) In order for the commission to fulfill its duties and responsibilities and exercise its authority
under this and other acts, an agreement shall be executed between the Department of Agriculture, the
department and the commission which specifically defines and delineates the role and responsibility of
each agency in assisting the commission in fulfilling its duties.
(c) In order for the commission to fulfill its duties and responsibilities and exercise its authority
under this and other acts, the commission, the department and the Department of Agriculture:
(i) May establish joint offices in order to facilitate cooperation and coordination of work and to
eliminate overlapping functions.
(ii) Shall cooperate with each other in the use of employes, land, buildings, quarters, facilities
and equipment.
(iii) Shall establish a single point of contact for the support, funding, administration and
oversight of conservation districts, directors and staff and other cooperating organizations and
individuals.
(d) Upon request of the commission, for the purpose of carrying out any of its functions, any agency
of the Commonwealth and The Pennsylvania State University may assign or detail members of their staff
or personnel to the commission to provide services and support and may make such special reports,
surveys or studies as the commission may request.
(e) The commission shall consist of the Secretary of Environmental Protection or a designee, the
Secretary of Agriculture of Pennsylvania or a designee, the Dean of the College of Agriculture of The
Pennsylvania State University and four farmer members, who shall be farmers, to be appointed by the
Governor with the advice and consent of a majority of the members elected to the Senate. In appointing
farmer members, the Governor shall consider nominees submitted by the associations known as the
"Pennsylvania State Council of Farm Organizations," and the "Pennsylvania Association of Conservation
Districts, Inc.," or their successor organizations. Each association shall nominate one candidate for each
farmer member vacancy. Two public members who shall not be farmers shall also be appointed to the
commission by the Governor with the advice and consent of a majority of the members elected to the
Senate. The State Conservationist of the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the United States
Department of Agriculture, the Associate Director of the Cooperative Extension Service of The
Pennsylvania State University, the President of the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts,
Inc., the Secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources or a designee and the Secretary of Community
and Economic Development or a designee shall be associate, non-voting members of the commission.
(f) The commission may appoint other associate, non-voting members who may be selected and
removed with a two-thirds vote of the voting members.
(g) The chairmanship of the commission shall rotate on an annual basis between the Secretary of
Agriculture and the Secretary of Environmental Protection with the Secretary of Agriculture chairing the
first annual rotation beginning July 1, 2007.
(h) The commission shall keep a record of its official actions, and may perform such acts and
promulgate such policies, procedures, performance standards, guidelines, rules and regulations as may be
necessary.
(i) The commission by a majority of its voting members shall select and employ an independent
executive secretary to serve and report to the commission. The executive secretary shall not be supervised
by the Department of Agriculture, the department or any other voting member entity. The commission
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shall assign the executive secretary duties and responsibilities as required to fulfill its obligations under
this and other acts.
(j) A majority of the voting members shall constitute a quorum and all decisions of the commission
shall require a concurrence of the voting members of the commission.
(k) At the last regular meeting of the commission in the calendar year, a vice-chairperson shall be
elected by the members of the commission and shall serve in that capacity for the ensuing year.
(l) The farmer and public members of the commission shall be appointed for a period of four years
and shall hold office until their successors have been appointed and have qualified, but no longer than six
months beyond the four-year period. The four farmer members' terms shall be so staggered that no more
than one member's term shall expire each year while the two public members' terms shall be so staggered
that no more than one member's term shall expire every second year. At the expiration of their terms of
office or in the event of vacancies through death, resignation or otherwise, new farmer or public members
shall be appointed to fill the unexpired terms of the members they are replacing. All farmer and public
members of the commission shall be entitled to one hundred fifty dollars ($150) per diem adjusted every
four years for inflation plus reimbursement for reasonable traveling, lodging and other necessary expenses
incurred in the discharge of their duties in accordance with Commonwealth regulations.
(m) The commission shall provide for the keeping of a full and accurate record of all proceedings
and of all resolutions, regulations and orders issued or adopted.
(n) An appointed member of the commission who fails to attend three consecutive meetings without
cause shall forfeit his seat unless the chairperson of the commission, upon written request from the
member, finds that the member should be excused from a meeting. The Governor may also remove an
appointed member of the commission for malfeasance or misfeasance.
(2) At the request of the commission, the Attorney General and/or Office of General Counsel of the
Commonwealth will provide such services as the commission may require. With respect to any program
delegated by any department of the Commonwealth to a conservation district pursuant to section 11(2), at
the request of the commission, the Attorney General and/or Office of General Counsel will provide such
services as the conservation district may require. With respect to the performance of any duties or
functions delegated to a conservation district by any department of the Commonwealth pursuant to
section 11(2), the Commonwealth will defend and indemnify district directors, associate directors and
district employes to the same extent as it defends and indemnifies Commonwealth employes, and such
directors, associate directors and employes shall have all immunities afforded by law to Commonwealth
employes.
(3) The commission shall have authority to delegate to its chairperson, to one or more of its members,
or to one or more agents or employes, such powers and duties as it may deem proper. Upon request of the
commission, for the purpose of carrying out any of its functions, any agency of the Commonwealth and
The Pennsylvania State University may assign or detail members of the staff or personnel to the
commission, and may make such special reports, surveys or studies or provide services as the commission
may request.
(4) (Deleted by amendment).
(5) In addition to the duties and powers herein conferred upon the commission, it shall have the
following duties and powers:
(a) To offer such training, assistance and certification as may be appropriate to the directors, staff and
volunteers of conservation districts;
(b) To keep the directors of each of the districts generally informed of activities and experience
useful to other districts;
(c) To approve and coordinate the programs of the conservation districts or projects; to apportion
among the several districts or to any agency of the Commonwealth, the United States or cooperating
organizations any funds allotted from State, Federal or other sources; to be responsible for the
expenditures of such funds by the districts; and to establish standards for conservation district audits;
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(d) To secure the cooperation and assistance of any governmental agency and to be the agency
through which government aid in land and water management and conservation of related resources can
be extended to private lands;
(e) To disseminate information concerning the activities and programs of the conservation districts
and to encourage the formation of such districts in areas where their organization is desirable;
(f) To accept contributions of money, services or materials to carry on land and water management
and conservation of related resources under the provisions of this act;
(g) To designate the organizations within the county that may act in nominating persons for
appointment as directors, as provided in section 6 of this act. Such designations may be changed from
time to time as conditions may warrant;
(h) To approve applications for projects and recommend priorities for planning for watershed
applications under the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act, U. S. Public Law 566 of 1954, as
amended;
(i) To approve applications for projects and recommend priorities for planning for applications under
the Resource and Conservation and Development Program authorized by Public Law 87-703, the Food
and Agriculture Act of 1962, as amended;
(j) To approve applications and recommend priorities for other Federal programs requiring State
Conservation Commission participation;
(k) To provide assistance through conservation districts to environmental advisory councils created
by municipalities pursuant to the act of December 21, 1973 (P.L.425, No.148), referred to as the
Municipal Environmental Advisory Council Law;
(l) To approve the delegation of and contracting for certain functions and powers to districts and to
monitor district activities in response to delegated functions and powers otherwise accepted by or
contracted to districts;
(m) To review fees for services established by conservation districts for the purpose of determining if
such fees are reasonable in relation to the scope of the service to be provided;
(n) To develop, implement and enforce programs which meet the purposes of this act, including
nutrient management and odor management under 3 Pa.C.S. Ch. 5 (relating to nutrient management and
odor management) and resource enhancement and protection tax credits under Article XVII-E of the act
of March 4, 1971 (P.L.6, No.2), known as the "Tax Reform Code of 1971."
(6) The commission shall have the power to receive such funds as appropriated, given, granted or
donated to it, or to the program provided for in this act by the Federal Government, the Commonwealth or
any other governmental or private agency or person, and shall use such funds for the carrying out of the
provisions of this act. The commission may allocate such funds, or parts thereof, to the conservation
districts or to any agency of this Commonwealth, the United States, or cooperating organization. Funds so
allocated shall be apportioned in an equitable and just manner at the discretion of the commission, but the
decision of the commission shall be final.
(7) The commission shall have the power to administer grant, loan and tax credit programs for
landowners to implement non-point source and other best management practices on their properties. (4
amended July 9, 2008, P.L.986, No.75)
Compiler's Note:
See section 503(d) of Act 18 of 1995 in the appendix to this act for special
provisions relating to the modification of the powers and duties of the State Conservation Commission by
Act 18 of 1995.
Compiler's Note:
The State Conservation Commission is subject to periodic review under the act of
Dec. 22, 1981, P.L.508, No.142, known as the Sunset Act, and will terminate on the date specified in that
act unless reestablished or continued by the General Assembly. For the current status of the commission,
see the appendix to this act.
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Section 5. Creation of Conservation Districts.
(1) When the county governing body determines, in the manner hereinafter provided, that conservation
of soil and water, and related resources and control and prevention of accelerated soil erosion are
problems of public concern in the county, and that a substantial proportion of the land owners of the
county favor such a resolution, it shall be lawful for the said county governing body, by a resolution
adopted at any regular or special meeting, to declare the county to be a conservation district, for the
purpose of effectuating the legislative policy announced in section 2. These determinations may be made
through petitions, hearings, referenda or by any other means which the county governing body deems
appropriate.
(2) Such a district, upon its creation, shall constitute a public body corporate and politic exercising
public powers of the Commonwealth as an agency thereof.
(3) All soil conservation districts and soil and water conservation districts created in the past under the
provisions of this act shall henceforth be named conservation districts. (5 amended July 9, 2008, P.L.986,
No.75)
Section 6. Designation of District Directors.
(1) When a county has been declared a conservation district, a board of directors, consisting of seven
members, shall be appointed by the county governing body. This board of directors shall consist of one
member of the county governing body, not more than four or less than two farmers, and not less than two
or more than four public members who shall not be farmers. The commission may waive the requirement
for two farmer members in first, second and second class-A counties upon the request of the conservation
district and the county governing body consistent with section 6(1) and approved by the commission. The
total number of directors shall always be seven, unless the commission, upon request of the district and
the county governing body, approves a lesser or greater number in unusual or extenuating circumstances
but in no case shall the number be less than five nor more than nine. The composition of the board shall
be determined by the county governing body and approved by the commission before such change shall
become effective; the farmer and public members to be appointed shall be selected from a list containing
at least one eligible nominee for each director to be appointed, and such list is to be composed of eligible
nominations submitted in writing by a qualified officer of the organizations designated by the
commission. Upon receipt of notice from the commission of the organizations to be entitled to make such
nominations, and having secured nomination lists, the county governing body shall appoint the proper
number of directors. The composition of the board shall be determined by the county governing body and
approved by the commission before such change becomes effective.
(2) The district board may appoint associate directors without voting power. (6 amended July 9, 2008,
P.L.986, No.75)
Section 7. Appointment; Qualifications; Compensation; and Tenure of Directors.
(1) (a) The director appointed from the county governing body shall be appointed annually by the
county governing body. A county governing body may require that a director of the conservation district
be a resident of the county. The term of office for farmer and public directors will be four years, except
that directors shall be appointed so that no more than three directors' terms shall expire in any one year,
unless a conservation district board is comprised of more than seven directors as provided for in section 6.
A director shall hold office until a successor has been appointed and has qualified but no longer than six
months beyond the four-year period. Vacancies shall be filled for the unexpired terms.
(b) (i) Successors to fill full terms shall be appointed by the county governing body from a list
containing at least one eligible nominee for each director to be appointed, and such list shall be
composed of eligible nominations submitted in writing by a qualified officer of each of the
organizations designated by the commission.
(ii) Successors to fill unexpired terms shall be appointed by the county governing body as in
subparagraph (a) or from a list of the associate conservation district directors who have had two or
more years of active service with that district and who meet the commission's eligibility criteria for
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the unexpired term. The names and contact information, including home addresses of all directors,
shall be provided to the commission by the county governing body within thirty days of their
appointment. The final list of nominations shall be placed on file by the county governing body and
shall be open to public inspection. In filling unexpired terms, the county governing body may make
appointments from any list prepared in the above manner that has been compiled within the twelve
months preceding such appointments.
(2) The director appointed from the county governing body shall receive no additional compensation
but shall receive traveling expenses as allowed as a member of the county governing body. The other
members of the board of directors shall serve without pay, unless, at the district's request, the commission
approves the district's request to pay directors for services rendered on specific projects at a rate approved
by the commission. The directors may be paid a per diem and may be reimbursed for actual and necessary
expenses incurred while engaged in the performance of their official duties, provided funds are made
available by the county governing body or by the commission for such purpose, and under such terms and
conditions as established by the commission. (7 amended July 9, 2008, P.L.986, No.75)
Section 8. Organization of Directors.
(1) The board of directors of the district shall be the governing body thereof. At their first meeting in
the calendar year they shall elect a chairperson and vice-chairperson and elect or appoint a secretary
and/or treasurer who may or may not be a member of the board and such other officers as deemed
necessary. A majority of the voting members shall constitute a quorum. The directors may delegate to
their chairperson, or to one or more directors, such powers and duties as they shall deem proper. The
directors shall furnish to the State Conservation Commission, upon request, copies of such rules, orders,
contracts, forms and other documents they adopt or employ and such other information concerning their
activities as the commission may require in the performance of its duties under this act.
(2) The board of directors shall provide for the execution of surety bonds for any members or employes
who shall be entrusted with funds or property; shall provide for the keeping of a full and accurate record
of all proceedings and of all resolutions, regulations and orders issued or adopted; shall prepare and
distribute annual reports and shall provide for an annual audit of the accounts of receipts and
disbursements.
(3) The board of directors may invite the governing body of any political subdivision to designate a
representative to advise and consult with the directors of the district on all questions of program and
policy which may affect the property, water supply, or other interests of such political subdivision.
(4) A director absent from regular district meeting three or more times during a year without due cause
may be replaced by the county governing body.
(5) The county governing body may remove a district director from the district board for malfeasance
or misfeasance. The commission shall establish guidelines, policies and procedures for the removal of a
district director. ((5) added July 9, 2008, P.L.986, No.75)
Section 9. Powers of Districts and Directors
The directors of a district shall have the following powers in addition to those granted in other sections
of this act:
(1) To conduct surveys, investigations and research relating to the character of soil erosion and the
preventive control measures needed and to publish the results of such surveys, investigation or research,
and disseminate information concerning such preventive and control measures after securing approval
from the commission and to provide notification and documentation to the commission to avoid
duplication of existing work;
(2) To employ the necessary personnel to properly conduct the operations of the district and provide
adequate and necessary insurance coverage for directors and employes, and appropriate fringe benefits for
employes, provided funds are available for such purposes;
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(3) To carry out preventive and control measures within the district, including but not limited to,
engineering operations, methods of cultivation, the growing of vegetation, changes in use of land and
drainage operations on lands owned or controlled by this Commonwealth or any of its agencies with the
consent and cooperation of the agency administering and having jurisdiction thereof, and on any other
lands within the district upon obtaining the written consent of the owner and occupier of such lands or the
necessary rights or interests in such lands;
(4) To cooperate or enter into agreements with, and to furnish financial or other aid to, any agency,
governmental or otherwise, or any occupier of lands within the district in carrying on erosion and
sediment control and prevention operations and other best management practices, for effective
conservation and utilization of the lands within the district, subject to such conditions as the directors may
deem necessary to advance the purposes of this act: Provided, however, That such agreements are within
the limits of available funds or within appropriations made available to it by law;
(5) To obtain options upon, and to acquire by purchase, exchange, lease, gift, grant, bequest, devise or
otherwise, any property real or personal or right or interests therein; to maintain, administer and improve
any properties acquired; to receive income from such properties and to expend such income in carrying
out the purposes and provisions of this act; to sell, lease or otherwise dispose of any of its property or
interests therein; and to borrow and invest money and to apply for, receive and use low-interest loans in
furtherance of the purposes and the provisions of this act;
(6) To make available on such terms as it shall prescribe to land occupiers within the district,
agricultural and engineering machinery and equipment; fertilizer, seeds and seedlings and such other
material or equipment as will assist such land occupiers to carry on operations upon their lands for the
effective conservation and utilization of soil resources; and for the prevention and control of soil erosion;
(7) To construct, improve and maintain such structures as may be necessary or convenient for the
performance of any of the operations authorized in this act;
(8) To assist and advise owners and occupiers of land in developing and/or implementing plans for
storm water management, water use, water management and water pollution control, soil erosion control
and conservation of water and soil resources, including recommended engineering practices, cultivation
methods, cropping programs, tillage practices and changes of land use;
(9) To assist and advise county and municipal governments in subdivision and land development
reviews, developing and implementing storm water management plans and programs and in administering
programs for flood control, flood plain management, water use, water management and water pollution
control and other natural resource concerns;
(9.1) To engage in any of the following activities: wetland construction and maintenance; reclamation
of mine lands; reclamation of soil erosion; water management; management of parks, trails and related
facilities; management of forest lands and roads; road maintenance; odor management and air quality;
development of alternative energy resources; or any other natural resource program approved by the
commission. Nothing in this subsection is intended to diminish, limit or interfere with the authority
provided State agencies under other laws of this Commonwealth;
(10) To conduct educational programs relating to any natural resource program approved by the
conservation district and to publish related educational materials;
(11) To accept, upon approval by the commission, any authority delegated by municipal or county
governments, the Commonwealth or Federal Government;
(12) To sue and be sued in the name of the district; to have perpetual succession unless terminated as
hereinafter provided; to make policies and procedures necessary or convenient to the exercise of its
powers and to make and execute contracts and other instruments necessary or convenient to the exercise
of its powers; to make, and from time to time amend and repeal, rules and regulations not inconsistent
with this act to carry into effect its purposes and powers;
(13) (a) As a condition to extending any benefits under this act, or to the performance of work upon
any lands not owned or controlled by the Commonwealth or any of its agencies, the board of directors
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may require contributions in money, services, materials or otherwise to any operations conferring such
benefits and may require land occupiers to enter into and perform such agreements or covenants as to
the long term use of such lands as will tend to prevent or control accelerated erosion thereon.
(b) On lands owned or controlled by the Commonwealth or any of its agencies, the Commonwealth,
at its sole discretion, may agree to fee schedules for work performed by the district for State-delegated
program duties specifically related to earth disturbance, erosion and sediment control or stream
encroachments.
(c) To enter into a contract or agreement with Federal, State, county and local Governments for
payment for work performed or services rendered by the district consistent with this act.
(14) No provisions with respect to the acquisition, operation or disposition of property by other public
bodies shall be applicable to a district organized hereunder unless the Legislature shall specifically so
state;
(15) To accept contributions of any character from any source whatsoever, but only by and with the
consent and approval of the commission, unless the funding is from the Federal, State or local
Government or unless specifically authorized so to do by this act;
(16) To sponsor projects under the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act, U.S. Public Law
566 of 1954, as amended, and the Resource and Conservation and Development Program authorized by
Public Law 87-703, the Food and Agriculture Act of 1962, as amended;
(17) To enter public or private property to make such inspections as are necessary to determine
compliance with the act of June 22, 1937 (P.L.1987, No.394), known as "The Clean Streams Law"; the
act of November 26, 1978 (P.L.1375, No.325), known as the "Dam Safety and Encroachments Act," and
any rules, regulations, permits or orders issued thereunder, to the extent that such inspection authority has
been delegated to a district by the department;
(18) To establish a program of assistance to environmental advisory councils which may include, but
not be limited to, educational services, exchange of information or assignment of administrative and/or
technical personnel; and
(19) No agent or employe of a conservation district or other Commonwealth agency or political
subdivision engaged in the planning, design, construction or regulatory review of soil and water
conservation projects and practices under the authority of this act, "The Clean Streams Law," or
delegations pursuant to paragraph (2) of section 11 of this act shall be considered to be engaged in the
practice of landscape architecture. (9 amended July 9, 2008, P.L.986, No.75)
Section 10. Cooperation between Districts.
The directors of any two or more districts organized under the provisions of this act may cooperate with
one another in the exercise of any or all powers conferred in this act and, upon approval of the county
governing bodies and the State Conservation Commission, may create official special purpose or
watershed organizations to solve specific problems of a multicounty or multistate nature.
Section 11. Commonwealth Agencies to Cooperate
(1) Agencies of this Commonwealth and agencies of any county or other governmental subdivision of
the Commonwealth may cooperate with the directors of any districts organized hereunder in the
effectuation of programs and operations undertaken by the board of directors under the provisions of this
act.
(2) (a) In accordance with regulations adopted by the Environmental Quality Board, the department
may, by agreement, delegate to a district one or more of its regulatory and enforcement functions,
including, but not limited to, the act of June 22, 1937 (P.L.1987, No.394), known as "The Clean Streams
Law," and the rules and regulations adopted thereunder; the act of May 31, 1945 (P.L.1198, No.418),
known as the "Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act;" the act of October 4, 1978 (P.L.851,
No.166), known as the "Flood Plain Management Act," and the rules and regulations adopted thereunder;
the act of November 26, 1978 (P.L.1375, No.325), known as the "Dam Safety and Encroachments Act,"
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and the rules and regulations adopted thereunder; and the act of July 7, 1980 (P.L.380, No.97), known as
the "Solid Waste Management Act," and the rules and regulations adopted thereunder.
(b) Any other State agency, in accordance with the regulations, guidelines or policies adopted by the
agency may, by agreement, delegate to a district one or more of its regulator and enforcement functions.
(c) Any district acting pursuant to a delegation agreement shall have the same powers and duties
otherwise vested in any delegating department or agency of this Commonwealth to implement these
acts, to the extent delegated by the agreement. Any delegating department shall monitor and supervise
the activities of each district conducted pursuant to a delegation agreement. Any person aggrieved by an
action of a district pursuant to a delegation agreement may appeal such action pursuant to 2 Pa.C.S. §
105 (relating to local agency law), within thirty days following notice of such action.
(d) Prior to the commission's approval of any delegation agreement, any Commonwealth agency
proposing a delegation agreement must provide the commission with the following:
(i) an analysis of funding sources for the proposed delegation agreement;
(ii) an estimation of the current and projected amount of funds or compensation to be provided for
proposed delegation agreement;
(iii) any conditions, limitations or other factors that affect or potentially affect the proposed
funding sources;
(iv) any additional resources outside of the proposed funding in support of the proposed delegation
agreement; and
(v) a clear delineation of the duties, authorities, deliverables and tasks to be performed under the
delegation agreement.
(3) (Deleted by amendment). (11 amended July 9, 2008, P.L.986, No.75)
Section 12. Discontinuance of Districts
(1) The county governing body of any county in which, by resolution, such county was declared to be a
conservation district, may at any time after five years from the passage of said resolution and after
determining that a substantial proportion of the land occupiers of the district so desire, and upon approval
by the commission, repeal said resolution at a regular or special meeting of said county governing body.
This determination may be made through hearings, petitions, referenda or any other means which the
county governing body deems appropriate.
(2) Upon the repeal of the resolution which declared the county to be a conservation district, the
directors may not enter into any more contracts or agreements on behalf of the district, and all rules and
regulations theretofore adopted and in force within such district shall be of no further force and effect.
Such district, however, shall continue for a period not to exceed four years for the purpose of fulfilling its
contracts, discharging any existing obligations, collecting and distributing its assets and doing all other
acts required to adjust and close out its affairs. ((2) amended July 9, 2008, P.L.986, No.75)
(3) Upon repeal by the county governing body of the resolution declaring the county to be a district, the
directors shall, at public auction, dispose of all property belonging to the district as soon as said property
is no longer needed by the district to fulfill any existing contracts, and shall forthwith pay over the
proceeds of such sale, less the necessary costs of the sale, into the county treasury. The directors shall, at
least ten days prior to holding such public auction, notify the commission of the property proposed to be
sold thereat, and after such sale shall render to the county governing body and to the commission a report
of such sale specifying the property sold, the amount received therefor and the disposition of the
proceeds. Such report of the sale shall also be accompanied by a list of the remaining property of the
district still undisposed of.
(4) Any property, real or personal, remaining unsold at the end of two years shall be taken over by the
county governing body for proper disposition and the proceeds derived therefrom placed in the county
treasury.
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Section 13. County Governing Body's Appropriations.
The county governing bodies of the several counties of this Commonwealth are hereby authorized to
appropriate annually out of the current revenues of the county, moneys to the conservation district,
properly organized and functioning under the provisions of this act, and located within the county. The
amount appropriated shall be determined as in the case of county appropriations, or appropriations of
cities of the first class, as the case may be.
Section 14. Funding.
(a) The General Assembly of the Commonwealth shall appropriate from time to time as may be
necessary, moneys out of the General Fund to administer the provisions of this act.
(b) There is created a special fund in the State Treasury to be known as the Conservation District Fund.
State funds appropriated for assistance to local conservation districts shall be deposited in the fund. All
money in the fund and the interest it accrues are appropriated to the commission for allocation to the
conservation districts for activities necessary to meet the requirements of this act.
(c) The fund may be supplemented by moneys received from the following sources:
(1) State funds appropriated to conservation districts or the commission.
(2) Federal funds appropriated to conservation districts, the commission or other agencies of the
Commonwealth.
(3) Programs delegated to or contracted to conservation districts by any agency of the
Commonwealth.
(4) Proceeds from the sale of any bonds made available to the commission.
(5) Gifts and other contributions from public and private sources.
(6) Any fees collected by the commission.
(d) The commission shall have the duty and authority to do all of the following:
(1) Adopt criteria and procedures for the allocation of moneys in the fund.
(2) Create accounts within the fund for the purposes of providing funding for the programs
authorized by this act.
(3) Provide for provisions to make advance payments and reimbursements to conservation districts
for approved purposes.
(4) Make payments to conservation districts or any agency designated by the commission in
accordance with the requirements of the agency from which the funds originated.
(e) Funds allocated to conservation districts shall be used for costs associated with implementing
programs delegated or contracted by the Commonwealth, environmental education, programs to protect
the environment approved by the commission or for activities necessary to meet the requirements of this
act.
(f) For the purposes of this section, a conservation district shall be exempt from State contracting
guidelines and eligible for advance funding.
(g) The fund shall not be subject to 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 37 Subch. C (relating to judicial computer system).
(h) The money in the fund shall only be used for the purposes authorized by this act and shall not be
transferred or diverted to any other purpose. (14 amended July 7, 2006, P.L.1059, No.110)
Section 15. Acts Repealed.
The act, approved the second day of July, one thousand nine hundred thirty-seven (Pamphlet Laws, two
thousand seven hundred twenty-four), entitled "An act relating to soil conservation and soil erosion, and
regulating land use practices contributing to soil wastage and soil erosion; providing for the organization
of soil conservation districts, as governmental subdivisions of the Commonwealth, with powers of
enacting ordinances and regulations for the prevention and control of soil erosion and the conservation of
soil resources; prescribing the officers and employes thereof, and defining their powers and duties;
creating the State Soil Conservation Board in the Department of Agriculture and imposing powers and
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prescribing duties thereon relative to the enforcement of this act; providing financial assistance to such
soil conservation districts; prescribing penalties, and making an appropriation," as amended, is hereby
repealed, except that districts now chartered and operating under said acts, lying wholly in one county,
may continue to operate thereunder with the State Soil Conservation Commission replacing the State Soil
Conservation Board until the board of county commissioners, in the county in which such district is
located, declare the county to be a soil conservation district at which time their affairs shall be closed out
and all assets and records turned over to the board of directors of the newly declared district, or when a
district now chartered and operating under said acts has boundaries which extend into two counties it may
continue to operate thereunder with the State Soil Conservation Commission replacing the State Soil
Conservation Board until the county commissioners, in the county in which the major part of such district
is located, declare that county to be a soil conservation district, at which time the affairs of such district
shall be closed out and all assets and records turned over to the board of directors of the newly declared
district (in the case where a soil conservation district now organized shall comprise territory outside of the
county containing its principal territory, the portion outside shall be administered by the board of directors
of the newly formed district comprising the county where the principal territory is located until such time
as the county where the outside portion is located shall constitute itself a soil conservation district under
this act, whereupon the said outside portion shall become a part of the county district wherein it is
geographically located) and in cases where the board or boards of county commissioners fails or fail to
organize under this act, said district or districts may continue to function as heretofore under said acts.
Section 16. Contracts to Remain in Force.
Whenever any lands which constitute all or a part of a soil conservation district created pursuant to the
act, approved the second day of July, one thousand nine hundred thirty-seven (Pamphlet Laws, two
thousand seven hundred twenty-four), and its amendments, become a part of a district created by
resolution of the board of county commissioners, all contracts theretofore entered into to which the former
district or supervisors thereof were parties, shall remain in force and effect for the period provided in such
contracts, and the directors of the newly created district shall be substituted for the supervisors of the
former district as party to those contracts relating to lands lying within the district of which they are
directors.
The representative directors of the district created by the board of county commissioners shall be
entitled to all the benefits and be subject to all liabilities under such contracts, and shall have the same
right and liability to perform, to require performance, to sue and be sued thereon, including the right to
terminate such contracts by mutual consent or otherwise as the supervisors of the district created, pursuant
to the act, approved the second day of July, one thousand nine hundred thirty-seven (Pamphlet Laws, two
thousand seven hundred twenty-four), and its amendments.
Section 17. Effective Date
This act shall become effective immediately upon its final enactment.
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APPENDIX
Supplementary Provisions of Amendatory Statutes
1986, APRIL 30, P.L.128, NO.39
Section 2.
This act, with respect to the State Conservation Commission, shall constitute the legislation required to
reestablish an agency pursuant to the act of December 22, 1981 (P.L.508, No.142), known as the Sunset
Act, and the commission is hereby reestablished.
Compiler's Note:
Act 39 amended sections 4, 6 and 7 of Act 217.
Section 3.
The presently confirmed members of the State Conservation Commission as of the effective date of this
act shall continue to serve as commission members until their present terms of office expire, provided that
any present commission member whose term has expired on or before the effective date of this act shall
serve until a successor has been appointed and qualified, but no longer than six months after the effective
date of this act. Any person presently serving on the board of directors of a conservation district shall
continue to serve as a board member until his present term of office expires.
Section 4.
Each rule and regulation of the State Conservation Commission in effect on the effective date of this act
and not inconsistent with this act shall remain in effect after such date until repealed or amended by the
commission, provided that the commission shall immediately initiate the repeal or amendment of any rule
or regulation which is inconsistent with the provisions of this act.
1995, JUNE 28, P.L.89, NO.18
Section 503.
Continued authority of Department of Environmental Protection, State Conservation Commission and
Department of Agriculture.
* * *
(d) State Conservation Commission.
State Conservation Commission.--The State Conservation Commission established under the act of
May 15, 1945 (P.L.547, No.217), known as the Conservation District Law, shall continue to have all the
powers and duties assigned under that act and all the powers and duties assigned under the act of May 20,
1993 (P.L.12, No.6), known as the Nutrient Management Act, except as modified below. The following
provisions are intended to modify the authority and responsibilities of the State Conservation Commission
and the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Agriculture:
(1) The chairmanship of the State Conservation Commission shall rotate on an annual basis between
the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Environmental Protection with the Secretary of
Agriculture chairing the State Conservation Commission for the first annual rotation beginning July 1,
1995.
(2) The State Conservation Commission by a majority vote shall select and employ an independent
executive secretary to act as staff to the State Conservation Commission who is not supervised by either
the Department of Environmental Protection or the Department of Agriculture. The State Conservation
Commission is authorized to assign the executive secretary duties and responsibilities as required to
fulfill its obligations under State law to develop, implement and enforce conservation programs,
including the Nutrient Management Act.
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(3) To enhance the ability of the State Conservation Commission to accomplish its obligations, the
Secretary of Agriculture shall designate an office and staff within that agency to coordinate and assist in
the development, implementation and enforcement of programs adopted by the State Conservation
Commission that solely affect production agriculture. The office and staff designated by the Secretary
of Agriculture shall be an advocate for production agriculture in the development of programs by the
State Conservation Commission, assist in developing methods of managing excess manure in an
environmentally sound manner, develop programs to assist those engaged in production agriculture to
comply with the Nutrient Management Act and act as an ombudsman to help resolve issues related to
county conservation district implementation of State Conservation Commission programs solely
affecting production agriculture.
(4) The Secretary of Environmental Protection shall designate an office and staff within the agency
to coordinate and assist in the development, implementation and enforcement of programs adopted by
the State Conservation Commission which are intended, in whole or in part, to protect surface or
ground water.
(5) The State Conservation Commission shall be responsible for taking enforcement actions under
the Nutrient Management Act. In the exercise of its enforcement authority, the State Conservation
Commission shall be assisted by the staff of the Department of Environmental Protection for actions
resulting in violations of the act of June 22, 1937 (P.L.1987, No.394), known as The Clean Streams
Law, and shall be assisted by the Department of Agriculture for all other violations.
Compiler's Note:
Act 18 of 1995 created the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
and renamed the Department of Environmental Resources as the Department of Environmental
Protection.

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