The Resource Conservation and Development Program was established under the authority of the Food and Agriculture Act of 1962 to assist multi-county areas in enhancing conservation, water quality, wildlife habitat, and rural development. Work in each area was coordinated by a council, which operated as a sponsorship-based nonprofit led by volunteers.
The San Juan RC&D Council, serving eight counties in southwest Colorado, was established in 1972 for the purpose of helping all the residents of Southwest Colorado to use, protect and improve natural, cultural, historic and economic resources.
Originally, the responsibility for the administration of this nation-wide program of RC&D’s resided within the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service. The NRCS provided basic operating support for the Councils, including an executive director. In 2011, federal funding for the RC&D program was eliminated and the individual RC&D Councils were left alone to sink or swim.
For the first time in history, RC&D Councils, across the country are functioning without the direct support of the NRCS. Many have closed their doors. Though this cut in federal funding means a substantially smaller budget, the San Juan RC&D continues to actively work toward our vision: promoting sustainable communities and improving the quality of life through economic development and the conservation of natural resources.
We help local groups realize their goals by providing support and sponsorship, including administrative support and fiscal management for those who do not have the capacity to pursue their own non-profit status, grant research, proposal writing and review, grant administration, and website design and development. Our Council members form partnerships with communities and organizations to foster water conservation, land conservation, water management, and community and economic development.
The San Juan RC&D looks back on a proud history of successful projects and envisions a future of developing new partnerships and continuing collaboration with our old partners.