(850) 892-3712 ext. 3 choctawhatcheeriverswcd@gmail.com

Choctawhatchee River
Soil & Water Conservation District

About Choctawhatchee River SWCD


Our Purpose


The mission of the Choctawhatchee River Soil and Water Conservation District is to provide the administration of programs to conserve soil and improve water quality and quantity on private lands.


About Us


Choctawhatchee River Soil and Water Conservation District
239 John Baldwin Road, Suite B
DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433
Phone: (850) 892-3712 ext. 3


Due to the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s U.S. Congress declared soil and water conservation a national policy and priority in 1935. To ensure the support of land owners on a local level, soil and water conservation districts serving conservation needs at a county level were created to work in partnership with the federal government. Today there are approximately 3,000 conservation districts nationwide that are involved in efforts as varied as their conservation needs.


The governing body of a soil and water conservation district consists of 5 elected supervisors. The office of a soil and water conservation district supervisor is nonpartisan and district wide. Candidates are elected in a general election to a 4-year term. Vacancies are filled by appointment by the remaining supervisors until the next general election. Supervisors receive no monetary compensation for their services.


The Choctawhatchee River Soil and Water Conservation District is entirely within the boundaries of Walton County, Florida and was created in March of 1940. The district’s services include selling USGS Topographical maps of Walton County, Florida. 

The Charter for the creation of Choctawhatchee River Soil and Water Conservation District reads as follows:


IN THE NAME OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME – GREETING: WHEREAS, Curtis A. Straughan, D. F. Adams, J. S. Adams, A. F. Bullard and G. B. Campbell have filed in the office of the Secretary of State of the State of Florida on the twenty-first day of March, A.D., 1940 an application showing the creation of a Soil Conservation District styled – CHOCTAWHATCHEE RIVER SOIL CONSERVATION DISTRICT the boundaries of which are described as follows:
“That part of Holmes County, Florida, West of the Choctawhatchee River and all of Walton County, Florida except the corporate limits of the City of DeFuniak Springs, Florida. The location of the principal office of the said Choctawhatchee River Soil Conservation District shall be in the City of DeFuniak Springs, County of Walton, State of Florida. The Secretary of State has examined the application submitted to this office for filing as provided under Chapter 18144, Laws of Florida, Acts of 1937, as amended by chapter 19473, Laws of Florida, Acts of 1939, Sections 5, A, B, C, and D, and find that said Application is in proper form and that an election was held as required in said Act to determine whether or not such a district should be created and the result of said election shows that a substantial majority of votes cast were in favor of the creation of said District. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT KNOWN, that said CHOCTAWAHTCHEE RIVER SOIL CONSERVATION DISTRICT Is authorized and permitted to transact business as a corporate entity as provided in the Act aforesaid and to exercise and enjoy all of the privileges necessary to carry out the purposes and objects for which this District is created. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the Great Seal of the State of Florida, at Tallahassee, the Capital, this is the twenty-first day of March, A. D., 1940. R. A. Gray, Secretary of State.


In September of 1965 the District officially changed its name to Choctawhatchee River Soil and Water Conservation District.


In May of 1971 the Choctawhatchee River Soil and Water Conservation District separated that part of the District that included a portion of Holmes County, from the west bank of the Choctawhatchee River to the Walton County line, so that portion would become part of the Homes Creek Soil and Water Conservation District.


District Employees

Mellody Hughes

Office Manager

Avery Spires

Soil Conservation Aide


 Group Seat 2: Leonard Thorn, Chairman

Group Seat 1: Cathy Johnson, Secretary/Treasurer

Group Seat 3: Stephen Brazile, Supervisor

Group Seat 4: Edman Ray Jackson, Supervisor

Group Seat 5: Henry Hodges, Supervisor


Natural Resources Conservation Service Staff

Chris Menhennett

District Conservationist

Enos Lee Overby

Soil Conservation Technician

Dalton Bodie

Soil Conservationist

What We Do


Established by the Florida Legislature, the Choctawhatchee River  Soil & Water Conservation District, a governmental subdivision of the State of Florida, was established October 9, 1950 under Florida Statutes 582 by local residents for the purpose of promoting and encouraging the wise use, management and general conservation of the County’s soil, water and related natural resources.

The District is committed to preserving and enhancing the quality of life in Choctawhatchee River area through conservation of its natural resources.

The Choctawhatchee River Soil & Water Conservation District works closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) creating ways to conserve water, prevent soil erosion, convert irrigation systems and inform the public about conservation problems.

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

View Code of Ethics Here.

The Choctawhatchee River Soil and Water Conservation District 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. Suggest including Chapter 189, Florida Statutes – Uniform Special District Accountability Act

Service Area

The Choctawhatchee River Soil and Water Conservation District serves all of Walton County, Florida in the area of the conservation and stewardship of our natural resources.

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

    • Soil surveys and historical maps

    • Local government advice and assistance
    • Youth education
    • Invasive plant control recommendations


    Educational Programs

    The Choctawhatchee River Soil and Water Conservation District sponsors a number of programs that serve  all local 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 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 Emerald Coast 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 issue.

    Schools can enter more than one team, but no more than six teams. During the competition, the students will rotate to the five testing stations. The contest brings together soil scientists, wildlife experts, foresters, park and recreational leaders, and other environmental specialists to challenge students to learn about our natural resources.

    Land Judging

    Land Judging is an exciting 4-H and FFA contest in which Middle and High School students in observe and interpret the soil in order to make wise land use decisions.

    The skills the teens use at the contest involve principles that can be valuable in career fields like environmental and agricultural management, natural resources conservation, home building, engineering, and construction. Students can compete at the local, state, and national levels.

    The Choctawhatchee River Soil & Water Conservation Districts offers support to local middle and high school students in FFA and 4-H to test their knowledge by judging soils from four pits that are selected by a Soil Scientist with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

    In each class (Middle 4-H, High 4-H, Middle FFA, High FFA) the local county winner may compete at the state contest in that respective class.

    Top placing teams in the state contest are eligible to compete at the National Land Judging Contest held at the end of April.


    Budget Information


    The Choctawhatchee River Soil & Water Conservation District does not collect or impose taxes.

    Fiscal Year:  October 1 to September 30

    Please click here to download the proposed budget for 2021. 

    Special District’s Annual Financial Report (required by Section 218.32 (1) (g), Florida Statutes) available at:  https://apps.fldfs.com/LocalGov/Reports/

    The Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees, adopted by the legislature as Part III of Chapter 112, Florida Statutes, contains standards of ethics conduct and disclosures applicable to public officers, employees, candidates, lobbyists and others in Florida State and local government.

    The “Sunshine Amendment”, adopted by Florida voters through a constitutional initiative in 1976 as Article II, Section 8, Florida Constitution, contains standards of ethical conduct and disclosures applicable to public officers and employees; it also requires the legislature to adopt the code of ethics described above.

    For more information, please visit the Florida Commission on Ethics website:  www.ethics.state.fl.us and select “Ethics laws” in the side menu.

    Get in Touch!

    For information or questions please to contact us. 

    Choctawhatchee River SWCD
    239 John Baldwin Road, Suite B
    DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433
    (850) 892-3712 ext. 3

    Mellody Hughes, Office Manager

    Your Details

    Let us know how to get back to you.

    How can we help?

    Feel free to ask a question or simply leave a comment.