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Interview with Donald Stewart, July 20, 2005

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:01 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: This is Sarah Duncan interviewing Donald Stewart for the Sandy Creek Park Oral History Project.

00:00:14 - Education and early career

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Partial Transcript: Okay, why don't we start off by you just telling me a little bit about yourself.

Segment Synopsis: Stewart discusses his educational background and his work with the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) and the Resource Conservation and Development Program. He discusses the Soil Conservation Service's partnerships with sponsoring organizations, such as counties, as well as local farmers. Stewart also comments on the cost-sharing system of financing conservation projects.

Keywords: Robert Farmer; Soil Conservation Service; business-conservation partnership; conservation; cost sharing

00:06:38 - Role in funding and planning Sandy Creek recreation project

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Partial Transcript: How did you first get involved with the Sandy Creek project specifically?

Segment Synopsis: Stewart discusses the initial stages of the Sandy Creek project, including completing the dam and preparing it for recreation. He describes his role as money-manager and planner as part of the Soil Conservation Service (SCS). Stewart also comments on Georgia's position as a forerunner on developing small watershed programs.

Keywords: Chapman Lake; Georgia; federal funding; money management; recreational planning; small watershed program

00:16:52 - Georgia Watershed Protection Program / Cecil Judge

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Partial Transcript: That is something else that I was going to ask you about--did you know Cecil Judge?

Segment Synopsis: Stewart reflects on the personality of his SCS colleague Cecil Judge and Judge's vision for Georgia statewide watershed protection program. Stewart discusses stream channelization and its controversy and explains Judge's view on the issue. Stewart also mentions impediments to projects, including environmental protest and housing developments, and discusses the typical goals of statewide conservation projects.

Keywords: Cecil Judge; Soil Conservation Service; channelization; conservation; housing development; small watershed protection

00:27:14 - Reflections on Sandy Creek Park

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Partial Transcript: How did the final look of this park compare to what your original expectations were when you first saw it?

Segment Synopsis: Stewart discusses the factors taken into consideration in the development of the park and the park's final outcome. He mentions the county officials involved in the project and compares his work at Sandy Creek with other projects. Stewart also comments on the changing types of visitors and park use since its creation.

Keywords: Balfour Hunnicut; Jim Holland; Nancy Smith; recreational facilities

00:38:02 - Evolution of career / Interdisciplinary conservation

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Partial Transcript: Let's go to what we were talking about earlier, about your background.

Segment Synopsis: Stewart discusses his early background working in the field and its influence on his later work as an administrator. He comments on the interdisciplinary nature of the Soil Conservation Service and how the various disciplines were coordinated. Stewart also mentions various federal officials who were involved in project planning.

Keywords: Dan Spearcy; interdisciplinary conservation; project coordination

00:46:41 - Organizational collaboration / Influence of Sandy Creek Park

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Partial Transcript: What do you remember about working with the county government?

Segment Synopsis: Stewart discusses the collaboration of the Soil Conservation Service with county governments and the University of Georgia. He mentions the SCS's early role in regulating landfill selection, before the creation of official state legislation. Stewart also discusses the influence of Sandy Creek Park on projects in other counties.

Keywords: Clarke County; Gwinnett County; Treble Mill Park; interorganizational collaboration

00:55:30 - Projects as SCS Program Manager / Retirement

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Partial Transcript: Do any projects really stand out in your mind during that period?

Segment Synopsis: Stewart discusses the projects he directed as program manager of the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) from 1979-1990. He comments on the evolution of the types of projects from channelization to watershed protection as well as the change in funding. Stewart also describes his work, hobbies, and family life after retirement.

Keywords: Soil Conservation Service; appropriations; project funding; retirement

01:05:21 - Organizational shift in soil conservation / Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: Do you have anything to add?

Segment Synopsis: Stewart offers his perception of the hands-on to regulatory organizational shift in soil conservation agencies. He comments on the trend of political appointments to the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) during the Reagan administration. Stewart also mentions the name change of the SCS to the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).

Keywords: Natural Resource Conservation Service; Reagan administration; Soil Conservation Service; political appointments