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About the TSSWCB
The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) is the state agency that administers Texas’ soil and water conservation law and coordinates conservation and nonpoint source water pollution abatement programs throughout the State. Headquartered in Temple, Texas, the TSSWCB offers technical assistance to the State’s 216 soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs). A seven-member State Board governs the TSSWCB. The State Board is composed of two Governor appointees and five landowners elected from across Texas by the more than 1,000 local SWCD Directors. The TSSWCB is the lead state agency for the planning, management, and abatement of agricultural and silvicultural (forestry) nonpoint source water pollution, and administers the Texas Water Supply Enhancement Program. The TSSWCB maintains regional offices in strategic locations in the State to help carry out the agency’s responsibilities.
The TSSWCB was created in 1939 by the Texas Legislature to organize the State into SWCDs and to serve as a centralized agency for communicating with the Texas Legislature as well as other state and federal entities. Each SWCD is an independent political subdivision of state government and is governed by five directors elected by rural landowners. Local SWCDs are actively involved throughout the State in soil and water conservation activities such as operation and maintenance of flood control structures; sponsoring pesticide workshops, producer field days, land and range judging contests, and scholarships; and securing money for the construction of outdoor classrooms.
The TSSWCB provides assistance to SWCDs in financial and program matters, as well as the administration of grants. Also, the TSSWCB provides SWCDs with information and guidance on planning and implementing projects and regulatory issues related to nonpoint source water pollution. The TSSWCB employs ten Field Representatives that regularly meet with SWCDs and provide assistance in areas such as the Texas Open Meetings Act, the Texas Open Records Act, audits and financial reporting, wage and hour laws, and assistance in coordinating programs carried out in neighboring districts. In addition, the TSSWCB assists SWCDs in obtaining funding for a wide variety of special conservation initiatives. The TSSWCB administers a state-funded technical assistance program and provides additional assistance to SWCDs through offices located in Hale Center, Harlingen, Mount Pleasant, Nacogdoches, San Angelo, Dublin, and Wharton.
The Texas Legislature and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) provide funding to the TSSWCB to demonstrate and implement activities that control and abate nonpoint source water pollution. The federal funding originates from the Clean Water Act Section 319(h) grant program. The funding from this program is split evenly between the TSSWCB and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The TCEQ uses it’s half of the funding to focus on urban nonpoint source pollution.
Local SWCDs and the TSSWCB employ the certified Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP) Program as a first line of defense against nonpoint source water pollution. This traditional conservation planning program is based on the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG), and is recognized by the TCEQ as an effective alternative to water quality permitting on smaller animal feeding operations. The State of Texas has recognized the FOTG, when properly implemented, as being protective of Texas Surface Water Quality Standards. Through the partnership, NRCS field office personnel certify that each WQMP meets the FOTG definition of a Resource Management System. The TSSWCB also administers a financial incentive program (Senate Bill 503, 1993, 73rd Legislature) to encourage the implementation of WQMPs.
The TSSWCB also works with other state and federal agencies on nonpoint sourceissues as they relate to water quality standards, Total Maximum Daily Loads, Watershed Protection Plans, and the Coastal Management Program. Because the TSSWCB is the lead Texas agency for agricultural and silvicultural nonpoint source pollution abatement, all other state agencies must coordinate their nonpoint source abatement efforts with the TSSWCB, and the TSSWCB is charged with representing the State before the USEPA in such matters.
The TSSWCB is a statutorily mandated member of the Texas Groundwater Protection Committee, the Coastal Coordination Advisory Committee, the Drought Preparedness Council, the Water Conservation Advisory Council, the Prescribed Burning Board, the Interagency Task Force on Economic Growth and Endangered Species, and the Texas Invasive Species Coordinating Committee. The TSSWCB works to ensure SWCDs and local landowners are adequately represented in matters that could have a significant impact on future conservation and utilization of natural resources.
Because water has become the most limiting natural resource in Texas, the TSSWCB administers the Texas Water Supply Enhancement Program through a Program Office located in San Angelo and works closely with various state and federal entities to efficiently implement the program. The ability to meet the state's growing water needs will significantly impact the continued growth and economic well being of the State. Control of brush presents a viable option for increasing the availability of surface and ground water supplies allowing the State to meet its present and future needs.
TSSWCB Board Members
Learn more about current TSSWCB State Board Members by visiting an interactive map which shows the five state districts and each district's representing Board Member.
It is the mission of the TSSWCB, working in conjunction with local SWCDs, to encourage the wise and productive use of natural resources. It is our goal to ensure the availability of those resources for future generations so that all Texans' present and future needs can be met in a manner that promotes a clean, healthy environment and strong economic growth.
The TSSWCB will act in accordance with the highest standards of ethics, accountability, efficiency, and openness. We affirm that the conservation of our natural resources is both a public and a private benefit, and we approach our activities with a deep sense of purpose and responsibility. We believe the existing unique organizational structure of SWCDs, whereby owners and operators of the state's farm and grazing lands organize and govern themselves through a program of voluntary participation, is the most realistic and cost-effective means of achieving the State's goals for the conservation and wise use of its natural resources.
- Chapter 201 of the Texas Agriculture Code (HTML - exit to Texas Legislature Online)
- Chapter 201 of the Texas Agriculture Code (PDF, 201 kB)
- Chapter 203 of the Texas Agriculture Code (HTML - exit to Texas Legislature Online)
- Chapter 203 of the Texas Agriculture Code (PDF, 52 kB)
Agency Rule Review
Customer Service Survey
Fill out the TSSWCB Customer Service Survey and comment on your experiences working or interacting with the TSSWCB.
You may also download the survey form and fill it out manually. Downloadable survey form (PDF, 67 kB).
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