CHAPTER 19. AGRICULTURE.

§19-21A-2. Legislative determinations and declaration of policy.

It is hereby declared, as a matter of legislative determination:

(a) That West Virginia has a rich history of farming and using natural resources. The farms, forests, soil, and water resources are among the basic assets of the state and conservation of these resources is vital to the maintenance and future of the state and its citizens. However, improper land use practices have led to unnecessary soil erosion and water degradation.

(b) There is a continuing need for the implementation of conservation practices, whether urban, suburban, or rural, that maintain, promote, control, and prevent soil erosion, prevent floodwater and sediment damage, and further the conservation, development, use, disposal, and quality of water, thereby preserving natural resources, controlling floods, preventing impairment of dams and reservoirs, assisting in maintaining the navigability of rivers and harbors, preserving wildlife, protecting the tax base, protecting public lands, and promoting the health, safety, and general welfare of the people of this state.

(c) Adopting sound conservation policies and practices is an investment in West Virginia’s Natural Resources and is a foundation for profitable, productive, and healthy ecosystems that are resilient and better able to withstand current and future environmental challenges.

(d) In recognition of the ever-increasing demands on West Virginia’s soil and water resources, it is declared the policy of the state that the State Conservation Committee and the State’s Conservation Districts, in cooperation with other state and federal agencies, political subdivisions, nongovernmental organizations, private landowners, and others, work to recommend and implement programs and policies that improve soil health and water quality.

(e) This article contemplates that the cost of operating conservation districts will be provided by donations, gifts, contributions, grants, and appropriations, in money, services, materials, or otherwise, from the United States or any of its agencies, from the State of West Virginia or from other sources, with the understanding that the owners or occupiers of the land bear the responsibility of implementing practices to alleviate soil erosion and/or improve water quality on their lands and will contribute funds, labor, materials, and equipment to aid in carrying out such measures.

§19-21A-2. Legislative determinations and declaration of policy.