Water has been called ubiquitous, which may be a small exaggeration, but it is no exaggeration to say that it is intimately associated with soil. In the never-ending hydrologic cycle, rain falls upon the soil, and whether the soil is shielded by vegetation or otherwise protected is much of what soil and water conservation is all about.
The story of soil and water conservation through our 200-year history could be told in many ways. I have chosen to do so by citing, quoting, and commenting upon three giants in American history: Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Hugh Bennett. To this will be added a modest, personal footnote as to where we are presently trending.