Operations Guide

The Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts working with a committed group of SWCD staff and stakeholders has created the Operations Resource Guide to serve as a resource to  local Soil & Water Conservation District.cover2a

While this resource guide is by no means intended to serve as legal counsel it does provide critical personnel management materials including contacts, financial policies and procedures, operations and office policies, board members and agents, meetings, programs/ incentive programs, communication, as well as sample templates shared by soil and water conservation districts across the Commonwealth. This resource can also help ensure that districts have what they need, and that they are effectively matching skills and competencies to specific tasks, requirements, and outcomes.

In addition to the resources available within this guide, your VASWCD website serves as a repository of information on both operation resource topics as well as all items vital for district official training. Visit the Association Leadership Course to review these materials.

Your VASWCD serves you. As you review the enclosed reference materials and recognize a need for further training on a topic don’t hesitate to reach out to your Association leadership and staff. Annual trainings sponsored/hosted by the Association are tailored based on district need. Your Association can better serve you through trainings and staff support if made aware of the areas of growth needed at your district level.

We believe the attached resource is a strong starting point to strong personnel management practices within your local soil and water conservation district.

The DCR resource Desktop Guide for District Fiscal Operations PDF is also a useful tool for SWCDs wanting additional financial guidance. This guide is also referenced in DCR-SWCD grant agreement deliverables. 

Contact & General Information

The following are covered in this section:

  • Board of Directors
    • Elected
    • Appointed
    • Associate
  • Partners
  • Staff
  • Emergency
  • Legislative
  • Dam Owner

Financial Policies and Procedures

The following are covered in this section:

  • Desktop Guide
    • Budget Template
    • Audit
    • Direct Deposit
  • Grant contracts & agreements
    • Administrative & Operations Funding
    • NPS/Program Funds
    • Attachment E Guidance
    • Other Contracts
  • Purchasing Policies
    • Credit Card
    • Reimbursement Policies
  • Payroll
    • State & federal Taxes
    • Contracted Employees
  • Sales and Use Tax
  • Inventory/ Assets

Operation & Office Policies

The following is covered in this section:

  • Vision & Mission
  • Strategic Plan
  • Office Space
  • Records Management
  • Existing MOA’s
  • Vehicle Use
  • Biosecurity

Board Memebers & Agents

The following is covered in this section:

  • Responsibilities & Duties
  • Delegation of Authority
  • Recruitment/ Interview Techniques
  • Election/ Appointment Procedures
  • Board Member Development
  • Board Member Removal & Resignations
  • Local SWCD Officers
  • Committee Structure & Guidance
  • Legal Representation Information


The following is covered in this section:

  • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
    • Open Public Meeting Guidelines
    • Closed Public Meeting Guidelines
    • Records Request
  • Quorum
  • Agenda Types
  • Meeting Preparation & Materials
    • Sample Board Packet
    • Meeting Minutes
  • Parliamentary Procedure Guidance
  • Conflict of Interest

Programs/ Incentive Programs

The following is covered in this section:

  • Virginia Agricultural Cost-Share
  • VA Agriculture BMP Tax Credit Program
  • Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
  • Nutrient Management
  • Resource Management Plan (RMP)
  • VA Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP)
  • Watershed Implementation Program (WIP)
  • Equipment Rental
  • Dams
  • Awards
    • Clean Water Farm Award
    • Local SWCD Awards
    • VASWCD Award Program
    • Fndtn Award Program
  • Supporting Foundation Programs
    • Youth Conservation Camp
    • Envirothon
    • Poster Contest
    • Scholarships


The following is covered in this section:

  • IT Security Policy
  • Website Tools
  • Social Media Tips
  • Publications
  • Email Management

Annual SWCD Calendar Templates