Secretary of Natural Resources Office


Conservation District

Conservation Programs support responsible property management and protect land and water resources. Historically, restricted tribal and trust lands have been critically underserved by programs that are federally administered. In 2018, the Cherokee Nation partnered with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to establish our Nation’s first tribal Conservation District. The new tribally led district allows the Cherokee Nation to administer conservation programs locally for restricted property owners and tribal trust lands.  This greatly increases tribal access to benefits such as livestock management assistance, range/pasture improvement, wetlands preservation, erosion control, and hazardous fuel mitigation.

A conservation district governed by the tribe lets us first consider needs that are unique to tribal lands & Cherokee tradition, and then implement services congruent with those necessities. In doing so, Natural Resources staff collaborate routinely with employees and citizens having specific knowledge of property concerns; native plant and animal species; common agricultural practices; cultural awareness and institutional experience.  Our strong partnership with the USDA expands opportunities for resource and cost sharing with state conservation programs to identify priorities that are mutually beneficial for all parties.  Cherokee Nation’s conservation district optimizes services that match distinct tribal needs and secures increased resources for future generations.