Conservation districts had their beginning in the 1930s when Congress, in response to national concern over mounting erosion, floods and the sky-blackening dust storms that swept across the country, enacted the Soil Conservation Act of 1935. The act stated for the first time a national policy to provide a permanent program for the control and prevention of soil erosion, and directed the Secretary of Agriculture to establish the Soil Conservation Service to implement this policy. The conservation district concept was developed to enlist the cooperation of landowners and occupiers in carrying out the programs authorized by the act.
Delaware's enabling act was passed on April 12, 1943. The Act created the Soil Conservation Commission to determine the need for districts, define their boundaries, conduct elections of the first Board of Supervisors and assure that District programs conformed to legislative intent. The Sussex Conservation District was approved by public referendum in December 1943 and was formally established on February 16, 1944. Today the District implements conservation practices through our Agriculture Program, Stormwater Program and Heavy Equipment Program.