St. Lucie County
Soil and Water Conservation District

About St. Lucie SWCD

Our Purpose

Mission: To take leadership in St. Lucie County for Best Management Practices (BMP) in Soil and Water Conservation, while maintaining a sustainable agriculture.


St. Lucie Soil and Water Conservation District
8400 Picos Road, Ste 202
Fort Pierce, Florida 34945

Philip C. “Flip” Gates Jr.,Chair

Bess McKinney, District Administrator

Leona Yates, Agricultural/Nursery MIL Team Leader

John Miller, Agricultural/Nursery MIL Technician

Vacant, Receptionist


Jennifer Abbey, District Conservationist

John Spades, Soil Conservation Technician

Vacant, Soil Conservation

Board of Supervisors

Philip C. “Flip” Gates Jr.,   Chair

Michael L. Adams, Vice Chair

Robert J. Johnson

Linda H. Minton

Stephen Koppelman
Appointed May 12, 2020 replacing Mr. Helseth

What We Do

The St. Lucie Soil and Water Conservation District, a governmental subdivision of the State of Florida, was formed on July 3, 1951. This formation is authorized by the “Soil and Water Conservation Law” Chapter 582, enacted by the Florida State Legislature in 1937.

The District is organized for the purpose of developing and carrying out programs for conserving St. Lucie County’s natural resources. The program of conservation is operated by five non-salaried, locally elected individuals concerned with the conservation of our natural resources.

To achieve this ideal, the District entered into an agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture, whereby the USDA –Natural Resources Conservation Service provides technical information and experienced conservation personnel to offer services on request to any individual landowner, or groups of landowners, interested in planning, installing and maintaining a natural resources protection program based upon the land capability and the landowners’ needs.

The St. Lucie Soil and Water Conservation District is composed of all land lying within the boundaries of St. Lucie County. It is bounded on the east by the Atlantic Ocean; on the south by Martin County; on the west by Okeechobee County; and on the north by Indian River County.

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

The St. Lucie SWCD operates under Florida Statutes 582 under the Florida Legislature.

Charter / creation document (Community development districts may reference Chapter 190, Florida Statutes – Community Development Districts, as the uniform charter, but must include information relating to any grant of special powers)Statute or statutes under which the special district operates, if different from the statute or statutes under which the special district was established. 

Service Area

Services Provided

  • Assist land owners in their efforts to secure financial assistance through Farm Bill Programs to implement conservation practices

  • Conservation education, programs and information

  • Assist growers with development of low volume irrigation systems

  • Develop and update irrigation water management plans

  • Soil surveys and historical maps

  • Local government advice and assistance

  • Youth education

  • Invasive plant control

We also:

  • The St. Lucie SWCD collects food that we donate to Save the Chimps in St. Lucie County.
  • St. Lucie SWCD sponsors two Special Awards to the STEM (Science and Engineering) Fair in St. Lucie County (one fifty dollar award to a middle school student/ one fifty dollar award to a high school student).
  • District participates in the Citrus Show with USDA NRCS
  • District presents an Outstanding Conservationist of the year award each year at the
  • Conducts a Farm-City Ag Luncheon


Budget Information

The District’s fiscal year runs from October 1st through September 30th annually.

FY St. Lucie 2020 SWCD Budegt

To view the District’s annual financial report visit the Department of Financial Services:

This includes the final, complete audit report for the most recent completed fiscal year ending September 30.

Educational Programs

The St. Lucie Soil and Water Conservation District sponsors a number of programs that serve the Bradford County communities. Through community support and fundraising efforts, the district is working to build the number of services we are able to offer.

The annual Envirothon, Poster & Speech Contest and Land Judging are some of the educational programs with which we are currently involved.

If you are interested in volunteering for any of these programs, in having a district supervisor work with you on a project or in offering your support for our work, please contact:

The Regional Envirothon is a problem-solving, natural resource education program for high school students. It is a unique outdoor competition that requires teamwork and the application of knowledge in the five areas listed below:

  • Aquatics – water ecology, water chemistry, water quality, and aquatic life.
  • Current Environmental Issues – annually selected topics such as energy sources, ground water, Gulf of Mexico environmental concerns or other current issues.
  • Forestry – tree identification, tree ecology, insects, and timber.
  • Soils – classification, formation, soil properties, profiles, and site suitability.
  • Wildlife – habitat, identification, food, disease, and management.

Each team consists of five students. Schools can enter more than one team, but no more than six teams. The five-member teams are led by an advisor in studying prepared resource materials in the five areas including a selected current environmental issues.

Poster Contest
The annual National Conservation Poster Contest provides kindergarten through twelfth grade students an opportunity to convey their thoughts about soil, water and related natural resource issues through art. It also highlights the educational outreach efforts of conservation districts and their state conservation associations, auxiliaries and agencies. The poster contest theme follows the annual Stewardship theme. The contest is co-sponsored by the National Association of Conservation Districts and the NACD Auxiliary.

Each year, the poster contest starts at the district level. Individuals and teachers with questions regarding district contests should contact their local district. To locate your local district search our state directory. District winners advance to the state level. For questions regarding state competitions, districts should contact their state association. Finally, state winners advance to the National Contest. National winners are recognized each year at the NACD Annual Meeting.

**PLEASE NOTE: Check your state poster contest sponsoring group to determine deadline and theme topic and correct poster size. Each state coordinates their own contest. Posters must follow your state’s guidelines to be eligible for the national contest.

Go here for more information.

Get in Touch!

St. Lucie Soil and Water Conservation District
8400 Picos Road, Ste 202
Fort Pierce, Florida 34945
Philip C. “Flip” Gates Jr.,Chair

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