Dauphin Conservation District

To ensure the responsible use of Dauphin County’s natural resources; protect and restore the natural environment; promote public health and safety; and enhance the quality of life for all county residents.
Conservation Districts trace their origins to the soil erosion crisis of the 1930s, known as the Dust Bowl. To avoid future catastrophes of this scale, President Franklin D. Roosevelt recommended that states create soil conservation districts to promote the environmentally-sound use of natural resources at the local level.
Pennsylvania's Conservation District Law (Act 217), passed in 1945, established conservation districts as a subdivision of state government, responsible for conservation work within county boundaries. Dauphin County became Pennsylvania's 29th conservation district in 1952.

Since their beginnings, conservation districts have evolved into a unique form of local government that utilizes federal, state and private sector resources to address natural resource concerns that impact both urban and rural communities. Many programs administered by the district aim to reduce nonpoint source (NPS) pollution from contaminating Dauphin County's streams, which flow to the Susquehanna River, and ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay.

The Dauphin County Conservation District administers and participates in a variety of programs which work to protect the county's natural resources. The District's Board of Directors has determined that the primary natural resource concerns are protection of the county's water and soil. Subsequently, programming and educational efforts are centered around these two resources. Addressing water and soil related issues is intertwined with preventing nonpoint source pollution and protecting local watersheds. Just as the Dust Bowl crisis dictated the role of the conservation district in the 1930s, nonpoint source pollution and watershed issues are the driving forces behind many conservation programs today.
Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution is pollution that cannot be easily traced to a specific point because it comes from many individual places or a widespread area. It is often caused by seemingly insignificant amounts of pollutants which cumulatively threaten water quality and natural systems. NPS pollution is estimated to be responsible for degrading more than half of the nation's waters. Click here to link to the U.S. Environmental Protection's Nonpoint Source Pollution webpage.

A watershed approach to conservation is also key to the protection of our resources. By viewing our county from a watershed basis we can better protect land from detrimental practices that threaten the quality of our waterways. Only the citizens of Dauphin County can impact the quantity of nonpoint source pollution in the watersheds of our county and state. That is why many of our programs are aimed at helping local landowners, developers and farmers conserve Dauphin County's natural resources. Dauphin County citizens are part of the solution to halting the degradation of our resouces.

The Dauphin County Conservation District operates under the direction of the Conservation District Board of Directors and the Dauphin County Commissioners as a department of Dauphin County government. The board of directors volunteer their time and talents and includes both farmers and urban directors as well as a commissioner director. Collectively they represent the interests of Dauphin County residents. Additionally, the District has associate directors who serve on committees and provide input to the board of directors as they make decisions regarding Dauphin County's natural resources. Under the guidance of the board of directors the district manager is responsible for implementing policy and maintaining oversight of the Conservation District.

Contact Dauphin Conservation District

John Orr
District Manager
1451 Peters Mountain Rd.
Dauphin, Pennsylvania  17018
Phone: (717) 921-8100
Fax: (717) 921-8276


Service Area

Services provided in:
  • Dauphin County, Pennsylvania

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