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What We Do

Established by the Florida Legislature, the Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District, a governmental subdivision of the State of Florida, was established October 9, 1945 under Florida Statutes 582 by local residents for the purpose of promoting and encouraging the wise use, management and general conservation of the County’s soil, water and related natural resources. The District is committed to preserving and enhancing the quality of life in Highlands County through conservation of its natural resources.

The Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District works closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Florida Department of Agriculture - Office of Agricultural Water Policy (OAWP) creating ways to conserve water, prevent soil erosion, convert irrigation systems and inform the public about conservation problems.


Services Provided:

  • Assist land owners in their efforts to secure financial assistance to implement conservation practices
  • Educate youth through various programs including the Regional Poster Contest and Highlands County Ag-Venture program
  • Adult conservation education, programs and information such as Leadership Highlands Agricultural Tours and Wedgeworth Leadership Institute
  • Collaborate with County Government to identify partnership opportunities for the sustainability of our natural resources while supporting agriculture production
  • Owner/Operator of Growing in the Heartland Community Garden
  • Owner/Operator of the Highlands Mobile Irrigation Laboratory 
  • Educational Scholarship for upper level students seeking a degree in Agriculture at Warner University
  • Fiscal Agent for Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Office of Agricultural Water Policy (OAWP) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) 
  • Overseer of City of Avon Park Conservation Eastments
  • Provide education, outreach and technical assistance with conservation planning and best management practice implementation to agricultural producers in and around Highlands County
  • Active partnerships with various Agriculture Associations  to provide services to variety of agriculture entities 


A Code of Ethics has been adopted by the district.  For Code of Ethics Information. View Code of Ethics Here.


The Highlands SWCD operates under Florida Statutes 582 of the Florida Legislature.  HWSCD abides by Chapter 189, Florida Statutes – Uniform Special District Accountability Act.

Charter / creation document: Chapter 190, Florida Statutes – Community Development Districts