Highlands SWCD
To provide leadership to help people conserve, improve, and sustain the natural resources and environment of Highlands County.

The Highlands County Soil and Water Conservation District was created in 1942 and originally was known as the Istokpoga Soil Conservation District, covering only the area south and east of Lake Istokpoga.  Katherine Waggaman was instrumental in the creation of the Istokpoga Soil Conservation District and as a board supervisor, she was the first woman Conservation District supervisor in the United States.  The District was expanded in 1946 to cover the entire county and was then renamed the Highlands Soil and Water Conservation District. 

Early District activities followed along the lines of activities occurring throughout the state to reroute water and drain lands for development.  The first watershed project was the East Placid Chain of Lakes, which began construction in 1956 and was completed in 1958.  Additional watershed projects include canal and structure construction on Fisheating Creek, Upper Josephine-Jackson Creek and in the Istokpoga Marsh.  The projects were conducted primarily to ease flooding concerns around homes and in agricultural lands.  The Istokpoga Canal was also constructed through the Conservation District.  All of these projects were accomplished with engineering support and assistance provided by the Soil Conservation Service with co-sponsorship by the Highlands County Board of County Commissioners. 

Contact Highlands SWCD

Contact Highlands SWCD

Susie Bishop
Executive Director
4505 George Boulevard
Sebring, Florida  33875
Phone: 863-402-6545
Fax: 863-385-7028


Service Area

Services provided in:
  • Highlands County, Florida