Maries County Soil and Water Conservation District
Maries County citizens passed a referendum for the organization of the Maries County Soil and Water Conservation District in 1967. With the help of the Soil and Water Districts Commission, the district was formed under the referendum by a local vote of Maries County landowners. Any farmer who was interested, became a cooperator of the district. Each cooperator could apply for cost-share assistance for their soil and water conservation problem.
The first supervisors to serve on the soil and water board after the referendum passed were: Marion Parker, V. D. Street, E. R. Cordsmeyer and Leslie Cook. Following the establishment of the district, Cordsmeyer and Parker resigned and the Missouri Districts Commission appointed James Kleffner to replace Parker and S. R. Spurgeon, Jr. to replace Cordsmeyer. The district voted V. D. Street to serve as Chairman, Leslie Cook as Vice-Chairman, James Kleffner as Treasurer and S. R. Spurgeon, Jr. as Member. Roy Hager, Maries County Extension Agent served as the first Secretary of the board. Supervisors of the district donate their time to serve on the board and only receive mileage to attend monthly meetings. The present elected board members include: Chair Jan Skouby, Vice-Chairman Rodney Southard, Treasurer Justin Fagre and Member Glen Rowden. The Secretary of the board is filled by Gatlin Bunton with the University of Missouri Extension.
The district was first staffed in July 1967 with Leroy Wiese serving as District Conservationist with the Soil Conservation Service, a branch of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Wiese held that position until June of 1979 when Dennis Shirk was transferred to Vienna. With the reorganization of USDA in 1995, the new Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) then required Shirk to also begin serving the counties of Osage and Gasconade Counties as well as Maries County. He retired as Grassland Conservationist in January 2004. Another NRCS reorganization in 2015 brought Cole County into the present four county field office service area. The NRCS employees presently serving the four counties are: Gary Applegate, District Conservationist; Mark Brandt, Lead Resource Conservationist, Megan Rudroff, Soil Conservationist; Ed Gillmore, Soil Conservationist; and D. J. Schroeder, Soil Conservation Technician. The Missouri Department of Conservation also has three employees assigned to assist landowners: Aaron Holsapple, Resource Forester and Scott Williams, Fisheries Management Biologist. The Private Lands Conservationist position is vacant at this time.
The Vienna office is staffed by full-time district employees Sandy Burd and Amy Neier. Additional assistance is received from the Field Office Service Area Shared Technician April Aholt.