Sloughhouse Resource Conservation District was formed in 1956 by local farmers and ranchers to address local soil conservation issues. Landowners within our Special District boundaries in Southeast Sacramento County are represented by a five member Board of Directors. The original board of directors included Jake Schneider (president), Garald Johnson, Peter Bradley, Lester Ledbetter, and Vince Tudesco. Since the formation of the district there have been several historic votes and changes to annex additional lands into the SRCD boundaries.
The SRCD was created and currently operates under provisions of Division 9 of the Public Resources Code, section 9000 et seq. (“PRC”), as those provisions have been periodically amended and revised by the Legislature.1 “[R]esource conservation districts are legal subdivisions of the state….” (PRC § 9003.) The Legislature declared: “As local agencies, resource conservation districts are well suited to work with state and federal agencies to carry out watershed management projects …. State and federal agencies should work cooperatively with resource conservation districts … to accomplish watershed protection objectives ….” (Stats. 1994, c. 719, § 1 (A.B.2030).) The statute declares “resource conservation is of fundamental importance to the prosperity and welfare of the people of this state” and the “Legislature believes that the state must assume leadership in formulating and putting into effect a statewide program of soil and water conservation and related natural resource conservation….” (PRC § 9001.) A resource conservation district may be formed “for the control of runoff, the prevention or control of soil erosion, the development and distribution of water, and the improvement of land capabilities.” (PRC § 9151.) The RCD has levied and receives regular assessments that are collected by Sacramento County, and it also has the power to impose a special tax on taxpayers or real property within the district to effect its purposes and plans. (See PRC § 9501-9513.)
Among the purposes that the Legislature has declared are within the responsibilities of resource conservation districts are the following: (1) to provide a means by which the state may cooperate with resource conservation districts to secure the adoption of resource conservation practices including watershed and water quality measures best adapted to save soil, water, and air from unreasonable and economically preventable waste and destruction; and, (2) provide for the organization and operation of resource conservation districts “for the purposes of soil and water conservation … including, but not limited to, these purposes in open areas, agricultural areas, urban development, wildlife areas, recreational developments, watershed management, the protection of water quality and water reclamation, the development of storage and distribution of water, and the treatment of each acre of land according to its needs.” (PRC § 9001, subd. (a)(1) and (a)(2).)
Among other powers and responsibilities, SRCD “may make improvements or conduct operations on public lands … and on private lands … in furtherance of … water conservation and distribution ….” (PRC § 9409.) SRCD “may accept, by purchase, lease, or gift, and administer any soil conservation, water conservation, water distribution, … project located within the district undertaken by the United States or any of its agencies, or by this state or any of its agencies.” (PRC § 9414.) SRCD “may manage … and may act as agent for … this state … in connection with the acquisition, construction, operation, or administration of any …water conservation, [or] water distribution … project within or adjacent to the district.” (PRC § 9415.) SRCD is authorized to “appoint advisory committees to provide technical assistance in addressing … resource problems….” (PRC §9420.) SRCD is also authorized to form improvement districts to fund and construct flood prevention facilities and facilities for “conservation, development, utilization, drainage disposal, and distribution of water” for agricultural purposes. (PRC § 9801.)