History

1930's Dust Bowl
1930’s Dust Bowl

In the early 1930s, along with the greatest depression this nation has 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. The storms stretched across the nation, reaching south to Texas and east to New York. 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. In 1937, President Roosevelt wrote the governors of all states recommending legislation that would allow local landowners to form soil conservation districts.

Hugh Hammond Bennett
“The Father of Soil Conservation”, Hugh Hammond Bennett

The Morris County Soil Conservation District originated as the Warren-Morris District and became the Morris County Soil Conservation District in 1952. It was the first soil conservation district in New Jersey to require review of development and site plans for soil erosion and sediment control. The Morris District also provides education and outreach to the public, as well as technical assistance and forestry management services to local land owners.