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District History

The Wheeler Soil & Water Conservation District was formed December 3, 1963, with a Certificate of Organization issued by the Secretary of State on December 10, 1963.

The original boundaries of the District closely followed the boundaries of Wheeler County, with the exception of approximately 33,000 acres in townships 8-11 south, all in range 25 east. Those 33,000 acres were included within the Monument SWCD border. The boundary line was adjusted on February 24, 1974 to the present day boundaries, which includes all of the lands within the legal boundaries of Wheeler County.

The first Board of Supervisors in 1963 were Mitchell Chapman, Lyle Ostrander, Gus Strecker, Clarence Franke, and Virgil Misener. The first Secretary was Ann Culver, who served the District in a variety of roles for over 35 years. The first budget passed was a two-year budget of $1,018.00, with the largest budget item being “mileage reimbursement” at eight cents a mile. In 1964, Gilliam County SWCD, in an effort to help establish this new district, gave a $100.00 grant to be used by Wheeler SWCD without restrictions.

For the first 30 years, the Board members themselves approached landowners and recruited their participation in projects. They conducted the tours and public education workshops, and made the County Fair displays. For many years the Board operated with only one part-time employee, the secretary. As the District grew, the tasks became more complicated and time consuming, requiring specialized skills and greater responsibilities. The secretary position transitioned into the District Manager and additional positions were created to maintain the increasing demand for conservation.