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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a Conservation District?

    This question is asked frequently by people who purchase newly constructed homes in New Jersey.  A soil erosion control permit is one of the many permits required by New Jersey laws in order to build and develop in the state.  This permit is issued by one of the State’s 15 soil conservation districts, who’s job it is to implement the NJ Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Act which governs certain aspects of new development.

    Districts are special purpose subdivisions of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture.  They are not county government agencies, although their jurisdiction follows county boundaries.  They are semi-autonomous political bodies which are locally governed which play a very unique role in the protection of New Jersey’s natural resources. 

    On one hand, they serve the agricultural community through a variety of programs aimed at supporting agricultural industries in the state.  Districts develop conservation plans for farmland and provide general assistance to farmers  dealing with a variety of technical and business issues.  On the other hand, districts serve a regulatory role by implementing the State’s erosion control laws on construction and development sites.

    In this capacity, districts regulate certain construction activities by reviewing and certifying plans for soil erosion control which are designed based on a set of best management practices, known as Standards.  Districts conduct inspections of construction sites and have a variety of regulatory and enforcement powers to ensure that construction sites are maintained in compliance with the certified erosion control plan.  Districts also conduct inspections of individual homes within a development to ensure that the lots have been properly prepared for establishing new lawns.  Conservation districts serve another unique role in the implementation of New Jersey’s Non Point Source Pollution Control on construction sites.

    Soil conservation districts also conduct many education programs, and many districts employ “education coordinators” who conduct programs for schools and civic groups.  Districts sponsor poster contests and assist the State Soil Conservation Committee in the annual Envirothon.

    You can contact your local conservation district by clicking here .

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