Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board
Marker No: 17842
Aluminum 27 x 42 Subject Marker
Geographic: 31.062773, -97.337723
Location: 1497 Country View Lane, Temple
Marker Text: In the 1930s, in the midst of the Great Depression, one of the worst sustained ecological disasters in the nation’s history devastated the southern plains. Long periods of drought mixed with strong winds robbed entire farms of topsoil and completely buried others. With confusion mounting as to the cause of the dust storms, a few early soil conservationists actively sought scientific and pragmatic solutions. One outspoken advocate, Hugh Hammond Bennett, was instrumental in the earliest federal efforts to address the soil erosion problem, but more was needed.
In Texas, responses to the agricultural crisis began as early as 1931 when Gov. Dan Moody called for a special soil and water conservation committee. Following several years of failed legislation to create local conservation districts and a state board to oversee the system, Gov. W. Lee “Pappy” O’ Daniel signed the Texas Soil Conservation Law in 1939. Proposed by Texas conservation advocate V.C. Marshall of Bell County and the “Committee of 100,” the law established local districts controlled by landowners. One of the first orders of business was to establish the state board elected by delegates from each county in the state. V.C. Marshall was elected the first chairman of the board and the board’s headquarters were established in Temple. From the beginning, the agency worked directly with farmers, interest groups and political leaders to responsibly conserve and protect the environment with programs focusing on water quality, brush control, pollution, drought preparedness and education. (2014)