Section 9-8-25

Powers and duties of districts generally; conditions for performance of work on private lands; applicability of provisions as to acquisition, etc., of land by public bodies; exemption from taxation.

(a) A soil and water conservation district organized under the provisions of this article shall constitute a governmental subdivision of this state and a public body, corporate and politic, exercising public powers, and such district and the supervisors thereof shall have the following powers, in addition to others granted in other sections of this article:

(1) To carry out preventive and control measures within the district including, but not limited to, engineering operations, methods of cultivation, the growing of vegetation, changes in use of land and other erosion control measures on lands owned or controlled by this state or any of its agencies with the consent and cooperation of the agency administering and having jurisdiction thereof and on any other lands within the district upon obtaining the consent of the owner of such lands or the necessary rights or interests in such lands;

(2) To conduct surveys, investigations and research relating to the character of soil erosion and the preventive and control measures needed, to publish the results of such surveys, investigations or research and to disseminate information concerning such preventive and control measures; provided, however, that in order to avoid duplication of research activities, no district shall initiate any research program except in cooperation with the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station or with the approval of the Director of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station;

(3) To conduct demonstrational projects within the district on lands owned or controlled by this state or any of its agencies with the cooperation of the agency administering and having jurisdiction thereof and on any other lands within the district upon obtaining the consent of the owner of such lands or the necessary rights or interests in such lands in order to demonstrate by example the means, methods and measures by which soil and soil resources may be conserved and soil erosion, in the form of soil blowing and soil washing may be prevented and controlled;

(4) To cooperate or enter into agreement with and, within the limits of appropriations duly made available to it by law, to furnish financial or other aid to any agency, governmental or otherwise, or any owner or occupier of lands within the district in the carrying on of erosion control and prevention operations within the district, subject to such conditions as the supervisors may deem necessary to advance the purposes of this article;

(5) To obtain options upon and to acquire by purchase, exchange, lease, gift, grant, bequest, devise or otherwise, 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 this article; and to sell, lease or otherwise dispose of any of its property or interests therein in furtherance of the purposes and the provisions of this article;

(6) To make available on such terms as it shall prescribe to landowners within the district agricultural and engineering machinery and equipment, fertilizer, seeds and seedlings and such other material or equipment as will assist such landowners to carry on operations upon their lands for the conservation of soil resources and for the prevention and control of soil erosion;

(7) To construct, improve and maintain such structures as may be necessary or convenient for the performance of any of the operations authorized in this article including, but not limited to, plants and equipment appropriate for the processing of materials necessary for conditioning the land;

(8) To develop comprehensive plans for the conservation of soil resources and for the control and prevention of soil erosion within the district, which plans shall specify in such detail as may be possible, the acts, procedures, performances and avoidances which are necessary or desirable for the effectuation of such plans, including the specification of engineering operations, methods of cultivation, the growing of vegetation, cropping programs, tillage practices and changes in use of land and to publish such plans and information and bring them to the attention of owners and occupiers of lands within the district;

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

(10) 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 within its boundaries;

(11) To act as agent for the United States or any of its agencies or for this state or any of its agencies in connection with the acquisition, construction, operation or administration of any soil conservation, erosion control or erosion prevention project within its boundaries;

(12) 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;

(13) To sue and be sued in the name of the district;

(14) To have a seal, which seal shall be judicially noticed;

(15) To have perpetual succession unless terminated as provided in this article; and

(16) 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 and repeal rules and regulations not inconsistent with this article to carry into effect its purposes and powers.

(b) As a condition of the extending of any benefits under this article to or the performance of work upon any lands not owned or controlled by this state or any of its agencies, the supervisors may require contributions in money, services, materials or otherwise to any operations conferring such benefits and may require landowners 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.

(c) No provisions with respect to the acquisition, operation or disposition of property by other public bodies shall be applicable to a district organized under this article unless the Legislature shall specifically so state.

(d) The property and property rights of every kind and nature acquired by any district organized under the provisions of this article shall be exempt from state, county and other taxation.

(Acts 1939, No. 147, p. 202, §7; Code 1940, T. 2, §663; Acts 1967, No. 740, p. 1581, §2.)