The natural resources conservation program is administered by the State Soil Conservation Committee (SSCC). Established by statute in 1937, SSCC membership includes the Secretary of Agriculture (chair), the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), the Director of Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCRE), the Dean of Cook College (Rutgers University), an appointee of the Governor and six local soil conservation district supervisors.
The SSCC coordinates and supports the work of the 15 local conservation districts (SCDs) and their programs, establishes statewide policy, provides technical assistance and training, sets technical and administrative standards, coordinates nonpoint pollution control and agricultural cost-sharing programs, distributes funds, conducts appeals and assures accountability of local SCDs.
In addition, the SSCC coordinates with federal and state agencies to provide natural resource conservation and management services through the SCDs. The SCDs also review and enforce SSCC-approved erosion control and soil and water management practices on construction, mining and other land disturbance activities associated with development in order to protect water quality and avoid damage from stormwater runoff.
The natural resource conservation program is implemented by the local soil conservation districts. These are special-purpose political subdivisions of the state charged with implementing natural resource conservation and assistance programs. The districts are governed by a board of five residents, known as supervisors, who are appointed by the SSCC. The districts employ staff and also enter into agreements with other natural resource management and service agencies to carry out their programs.
The SSCC and all 15 local districts are part of the New Jersey Conservation Partnership which also includes the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE).
NRCS, the technical arm of the conservation partnership, is a federal agency which provides the districts with technical assistance in engineering, biology, soils, hydrology and other areas. RCE resource management agents assist within a broad range of natural resource management areas, such as crop and pest management recommendations and soil testing.
A broad range of conservation services and assistance related to nonpoint source pollution is available through the 15 districts. These include agricultural conservation planning assistance, agricultural conservation cost-sharing programs, application of organic materials on agricultural land, agricultural water supply and management, soil erosion and sediment control; stormwater discharge authorization and soil surveys.