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Join your local conservation district board: Make a difference!

Do you want to play an active role in shaping local conservation efforts? Joining your local conservation board could be the perfect opportunity for you!

Why Join?

Conservation boards are the unsung heroes of our neighborhoods. By joining, you’re not only safeguarding nature but also building a stronger, more resilient community.

Here's what you can accomplish:

  • Make a difference: Support the conservation of our natural resources.

  • Utilize your skills and experiences: Your unique talents can contribute to effective conservation strategies.

  • Address issues that matter: Tackle environmental challenges that impact your area.

  • Explore your strengths: Discover and develop your abilities within the realm of conservation.

  • Set local priorities: Have a say in the conservation efforts that directly affect your community.

  • Give back as an elected official: Serve your community by becoming a member of the conservation district board.


South Dakota’s Conservation Districts:

Our conservation districts are essential hubs for technical assistance, financial support, and education, all aimed at fostering a sustainable, productive, and healthy environment for our communities.

Here's what we do:

  • Identify challenges: We pinpoint natural resources issues and employ both traditional methods and cutting-edge research to find solutions.

  • Promote community well-being: Our work contributes to creating healthy, enjoyable communities that offer a high quality of life for residents.

  • Foster partnerships: We collaborate with various stakeholders to promote stewardship, provide education, and foster a sense of shared responsibility.

  • Embrace inclusivity: We believe in inclusivity and resource sharing, recognizing that economic, human, and environmental health are interconnected and crucial for thriving communities.

Joining the Cause:

South Dakota’s conservation districts are special units of local government dedicated to managing natural resource programs. With 68 districts covering the entire state, mostly along county boundaries, there are ample opportunities for involvement.

Here's how you can get started:

  • Citizens elect five members to each conservation district board of supervisors, each serving a four-year term. Elections are held on a nonpartisan basis during the general election. Candidates must be registered voters within the conservation district.

  • Ready to Serve?: To become a candidate for the conservation district board, you'll need to submit a petition with 15 signatures to your county auditor’s office. The deadline for submission is July 1st, 5:00 p.m. central time.

For further information or assistance, contact us at (605) 895-4099 or your local conservation district.


Circulation of nominating petitions may begin on January 1, 2024 and petitions may be filed in the office of the county auditor located in the county courthouse during regular business hours. If the conservation district lies in more than one county, the petitions shall be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State, State Capitol Building, Pierre, SD 57501, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. central time.


The deadline for filing nominating petitions is July 1, 2024, at 5:00 p.m. central time. If a petition is mailed by registered mail by July 1, 2024, at 5:00 p.m. central time, it shall be considered filed.

South Dakota Codified Law (SDCL) 38-8-39 states:

Before any general election, the board of supervisors of an organized conservation district shall give notice of any district offices for which nominations may be filed. The notice shall be published at least once each week for two consecutive weeks in the official newspaper or newspapers of any counties within the territory of the district. The last publication may not be less than ten nor more than fifteen days before the deadline for filing nominating petitions. The Division of Resource Conservation and Forestry shall provide the required notice before a referendum regarding establishment of a new district.

Supervisors shall be nominated by a petition signed by fifteen or more voters in the district for which the candidate seeks election.

The petition shall be verified by the circulator and be accompanied by the declaration of the candidate in a form substantially conforming to nominating petitions prescribed under the primary election laws of this state governing nominating petitions for nonpolitical candidates. The petition shall be filed on or before July first of the year in which the general election is to be held, with the county auditor of the county, or where more than one county is within the territorial limits of the district, with the secretary of state. The auditor shall prepare ballots substantially in the form of the nonpolitical ballot and give notice thereof as provided by the general election laws of this state. The supervisors shall be elected by plurality. The election shall be conducted, canvassed, recounted, and contested as elections under the general laws of this state, except as otherwise provided in this chapter, and unless the general laws are inapplicable. If the details concerning the conduct, canvassing, recounting or contest of the election are not set forth within this chapter, and the general election laws are not applicable, then the commission shall promulgate rules pursuant to chapter 1-26 to make possible the submission to an election any matter which by the terms of this chapter may be submitted to a vote of the voters of any proposed or established district.


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