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TEMPLE – Each year the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) and the Association of Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts recognize and celebrate individuals that dedicate themselves to the conservation and management of renewable natural resources. These outstanding conservationists were recognized during an awards luncheon on Tuesday, October 25, 2022, at the Moody Gardens Convention Center in Galveston.

The Texas Conservation Awards Program began in the late 1970s to recognize the state’s conservationists and the vital role they play in managing Texas’ natural resources. The program’s purpose is to acknowledge, recognize, and honor individuals that dedicate their time and efforts to the conservation of renewable natural resources.  

The program provides an opportunity for competition and incentives to expand and improve conservation efforts and natural resource development, as well as the wise utilization of renewable natural resources. Categories recognized through the Conservation Awards Program are: Conservation Farmer, Conservation Rancher, Conservation Teacher, Friend of Conservation, Poster Contest, Outstanding Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Wildlife Conservationist, Junior Essay Contest, and Senior Essay Contest.

Collin County SWCD #535 was recognized as the 2022 Outstanding SWCD. Located in the Blackland Prairie region, just north of the Dallas Metroplex, Collin County SWCD works diligently to ensure that local natural resources are properly managed and protected. They work diligently to educate and assist landowners with putting conservation efforts on the ground. Collin County SWCD works continuously with engineering firms and developers to ensure the integrity of 99 local floodwater retarding structures are maintained for the safety of its citizens, as well as the infrastructure of the county.  The SWCD also has an active EPA 319 grant from the TSSWCB, which has allowed the implementation of over 2,500 Water Quality Management Plans within the Lavon Lake Watershed.

Collin County SWCD Board of Directors: 

Ben L. Scholz - Chairman

Bill Stelzer - Vice Chairman

James C Foster - Secretary

Heather Strait - Member

Rick Foster – Member


Pictured in photo left to right: Barry Mahler (TSSWCB board member), Jilane Carper (Collin County SWCD employee), Bill Stelzer (Collin County SWCD director), Ben Scholz (Collin County SWCD director), James Foster (Collin County SWCD director), Donovan Moxley (Collin County SWCD employee), Don Brandenberger (TSSWCB past staff member), JC Mathiews (Association of Texas SWCDs board member)