2017 ORS 568.550¹
General powers of board of directors
  • erosion control covenants
  • interagency cooperation
  • land use regulations
  • department rules

(1) The board of directors of a soil and water conservation district has the following powers:

(a) To secure surveys and investigations and do research relating to:

(A) The character of soil erosion;

(B) The character of floodwater and sediment damage;

(C) All phases of the conservation, development, utilization and disposal of water; and

(D) The preventive measures, control measures and improvements needed.

(b) To conduct demonstrational projects on lands within the district upon obtaining the consent of the owner and occupier of such lands.

(c) To carry out preventive and control measures on lands within the district upon obtaining the consent of the owner and occupier of those lands.

(d) To enter into written agreements with and, within the limits of appropriations duly made available to the board by law, to furnish financial or other aid to any governmental or nongovernmental agency or any owner or occupier of lands within the district, for the purpose of:

(A) Carrying on within the district soil erosion control and prevention operations, water quality improvement, watershed enhancement and improvement, fish and wildlife habitat management activities and other natural resource management activities; or

(B) Carrying out district responsibilities under ORS 541.898 (Oregon Plan described), 568.225 (Policy), 568.550 (General powers of board of directors) and 568.900 (Definitions for ORS 568.900 to 568.933) to 568.933 (Civil penalties).

(e) To obtain options upon and to acquire by purchase, exchange, lease, gift, grant, bequest or devise any property, real or personal or rights or interests therein, to maintain, administer and improve any properties acquired, to receive income from such properties and to expend such income in carrying out the purposes and provisions of ORS 568.210 (Definitions for ORS 568.210 to 568.808 and 568.900 to 568.933) to 568.808 (Taxing district to file legal description and map) and 568.900 (Definitions for ORS 568.900 to 568.933) to 568.933 (Civil penalties), and to sell, lease or otherwise dispose of any of its property or interests therein in furtherance of the purposes and the provisions of ORS 568.210 (Definitions for ORS 568.210 to 568.808 and 568.900 to 568.933) to 568.808 (Taxing district to file legal description and map) and 568.900 (Definitions for ORS 568.900 to 568.933) to 568.933 (Civil penalties).

(f) To borrow money and to mortgage personal property of the district as security for the borrowed money, if the district first gives notice of and holds a public hearing within the district to provide landowners with the opportunity to be heard. The State Department of Agriculture shall adopt rules specifying the manner for giving notice of a hearing under this subsection.

(g) To issue general obligation bonds of the district as provided in ORS 568.803 (General obligation bonds).

(h) To make available, on such terms as the directors shall prescribe, to landowners or occupiers within the district, agricultural and engineering machinery and equipment, fertilizer, seeds, and seedlings and other material or equipment.

(i) To construct, operate and maintain such structures as may be necessary or convenient for performance of any of the operations authorized in ORS 568.210 (Definitions for ORS 568.210 to 568.808 and 568.900 to 568.933) to 568.808 (Taxing district to file legal description and map) and 568.900 (Definitions for ORS 568.900 to 568.933) to 568.933 (Civil penalties).

(j) To develop comprehensive plans and specifications for the conservation of soil resources and for the continued control and prevention of soil erosion within the district, and to publish such plans, specifications and information and bring them to the attention of owners and occupiers of lands within the district.

(k) To take over, by purchase, lease or otherwise, and to administer, any soil conservation, erosion control or erosion prevention project, or combination thereof, located within district boundaries undertaken by the United States or any of its agencies, or by this state or any of its agencies.

(L) To manage, as agent of the United States or any of its agencies, or of this state or any of its agencies, any soil conservation, erosion control or erosion prevention project, or combination thereof, within district boundaries.

(m) To act as agent for the United States or any of its agencies, in connection with the acquisition, construction, operation or administration of any soil conservation, erosion control or erosion prevention project, or combination thereof, within district boundaries.

(n) To accept donations, gifts and contributions in money, services, materials, or otherwise, from the United States or any of its agencies, or from this state or any of its agencies, and to use or expend such moneys, services, materials or other contributions in carrying on its operations.

(o) To sue and to be sued in the name of the district, to have a seal, which shall be judicially noticed, to have perpetual succession unless terminated as provided by law, to make and execute contracts and other instruments necessary or convenient to the exercise of its powers, and to make, and from time to time amend or repeal, rules not inconsistent with ORS 568.210 (Definitions for ORS 568.210 to 568.808 and 568.900 to 568.933) to 568.808 (Taxing district to file legal description and map) and 568.900 (Definitions for ORS 568.900 to 568.933) to 568.933 (Civil penalties) to carry into effect its purposes and powers.

(p) To purchase liability or indemnity insurance, in such amounts and containing such terms and conditions as the board believes necessary for the protection of directors, officers and employees of the district against claims incurred in the performance of official duties. The premiums for such insurance shall be paid out of moneys available for expenditure by the district.

(q) To place liens on real and personal property.

(r) To enter into written agreements with, coordinate activities with and provide assistance to landowners, managers and residents within the district and federal state and local governments, relating to natural resource issues, including but not limited to issues of:

(A) Agriculture and forestry;

(B) Economic development based on natural resources;

(C) Watershed management and ecosystem health;

(D) Invasive species;

(E) Alternative and renewable energy;

(F) Air quality;

(G) Animal waste and nutrient management;

(H) Carbon sequestration;

(I) Access to market-based services and certification;

(J) Fuel reduction and wildfire planning and management; and

(K) Preservation of agricultural, forestry and other lands.

(s) To conduct outreach and conservation education activities.

(t) To provide financial assistance, including but not limited to loans and grants to implement activities and projects authorized under ORS 271.715 (Definitions for ORS 271.715 to 271.795) to 271.795 (Construction of Act), 568.210 (Definitions for ORS 568.210 to 568.808 and 568.900 to 568.933) to 568.808 (Taxing district to file legal description and map) or 568.900 (Definitions for ORS 568.900 to 568.933) to 568.933 (Civil penalties).

(u) To hold patents, trademarks and copyrights.

(v) To hold conservation easements under ORS 271.715 (Definitions for ORS 271.715 to 271.795) to 271.795 (Construction of Act).

(2) As a condition to the extending of any benefits under ORS 568.210 (Definitions for ORS 568.210 to 568.808 and 568.900 to 568.933) to 568.808 (Taxing district to file legal description and map) or 568.900 (Definitions for ORS 568.900 to 568.933) to 568.933 (Civil penalties) to lands, or the performance of work upon lands, the directors may require contributions in money, services, materials or otherwise to any operations conferring such benefits, and may require landowners or occupiers to enter into and perform such agreements or covenants as to the permanent use of such lands as will tend to prevent or control erosion thereon.

(3) In order to avoid duplication of activities under subsection (1)(a) of this section, the department may call upon other state and federal agencies for assistance and cooperation in their fields in accordance with memoranda of understanding to be signed by all cooperating agencies.

(4) A district may not adopt land use regulations under ORS chapter 197, 215 or 227. A district has the standing of an affected property owner to participate in public processes involving administrative rules, regulations, goals, guidelines, plans or other public body actions that may affect one or more properties within the district. [Amended by 1955 c.142 §16; 1957 c.603 §4; 1961 c.640 §3; 1973 c.656 §13; 1981 c.92 §29; 2005 c.22 §386; 2005 c.282 §1; 2009 c.220 §26]

Atty. Gen. Opinions

County regula­tion of activities resulting in soil erosion, (1975) Vol 37, p 819

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 568—Soil and Water Conservation; Water Quality Management, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors568.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2017, Chapter 568, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano568.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.