Alaska Association for Conservation Districts formed after the Territory of Alaska enacted legislation in 1947 that allowed the formation of districts. Districts are legal subdivisions of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, authorized under Alaska State Statute Chapter 41.10, Soil and Water Conservation Law.
By the late 1940s, all states had adopted laws reflecting the Standard State Soil Conservation District Law, promoted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This was in response to the Dust Bowl days and was designed to be a grassroots complement to the Soil Conservation Service (now USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service), which began in 1935. The conservation district concept was developed to voluntarily enlist the cooperation of landowners and users of natural resources in carrying out the program authorized by the Soil Conservation Act of 1935.
The Alaska Association of Conservation Districts was organized in 1965 to help the 12 Alaska districts do cooperatively what they could not do independently. In 1998, the AACD incorporated with 501(c)(3) status. Its work includes administering programs that encompass multiple districts and seeking and administering grant funding. The AACD is also the statewide voice on conservation issues pertaining to and requiring federal, state and local legislative and agency support.
In 2005, Tyonek Tribal Conservation District became the first federally organized, Native conservation district in Alaska. It works cooperatively with AACD and the state-organized Districts.