What is the WLWCA?
The Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association, Inc. (WLWCA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization representing Wisconsin’s County Board Land Conservation Committees and Departments. Our Mission is “to serve Land and Water Conservation Committees and Departments to conserve and enhance Wisconsin's natural resources." View our by-laws.
Wisconsin’s Soil Conservation District Law, Chapter 92 of the State’s Statutes, was enacted in 1937. Throughout the 1940's and 50's, most Wisconsin counties formed Conservation Districts governed by the Agriculture and Extension Education Committee of the County Boards. In 1982, Chapter 92 was amended abolishing Conservation Districts and required each county to create a special committee to oversee former Conservation District activities. Today, these districts are known as Land Conservation Committees (LCCs). Approximately 450 LCC members have the responsibility of developing and encouraging adoption of local programs aimed at conserving our soil, water and related natural resources.
Management practices developed by the Land Conservation Committees are carried out by employees hired by LCCs to work specifically with farmers, landowners and businesses. There are approximately 400 Land Conservation Department employees working on various programs for the 72 LCCs in Wisconsin. Wisconsin LCCs are part of the 3,000 Soil and Water Conservation Districts performing this type of work nationwide.
The Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association works with a variety of state and federal agencies including the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the Department of Natural Resources, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the USDA Farm Service Agency and the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service. These agencies provide the LCCs and Departments with technical assistance, recommendations or financial support for project implementation.
The WLWCA is divided into eight area associations, each consisting of seven to eleven County Land Conservation Committees and Departments. The eight area associations meet two to four times a year to discuss common problems and issues, learn about programs and develop recommendations to bring to the Association for action.
The WLWCA is governed by a Board of Directors made up of two representatives elected from each area association. The Board’s responsibilities include: determining the policies and procedures of the association; approving an annual budget; informing the members of the Association about natural resource programs and issues; and delegating functions and duties to officers and employees of the Association.
To provide state and fraternal perspectives on key issues, the Board of Directors has appointed advisors from a number of state agencies including the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the Department of Natural Resources, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA Farm Service Agency and the UW Cooperative Extension Service.
On behalf of county Land Conservation Committees and Departments, WLWCA staff are responsible for working closely with government agencies and elected officials to secure financial and program support for local conservation activities. WLWCA staff also monitor and keep LCCs and LCD staff aware of proposed legislation and program restructuring. In addition, WLWCA sponsors conservation education and recognition programs, supports public and private actions to advance resource conservation, works to increase public and private support for conservation and sponsors and annual conference and other training opportunities. The Association is also a catalyst to strengthen cooperation and coordination between conservation agencies.
For over fifty years, the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association has been working to improve the understanding of conservation issues and achieve tangible improvements in land use management. Every citizen benefits from the protection of our natural resources. Land Conservation Committees and Departments are the public’s vital link with local landowners to promote the implementation of conservation practices and achieve greater environmental stewardship of the land.