The county boards of the several counties which have been designated as a resource conservation and development project area under United States Code, title 7, section 1011(e) and acts amendatory thereof, may enter into agreements as necessary with the secretary of agriculture of the United States and other agencies of the federal government for the program of land conservation and land utilization authorized by United States Code, title 7, section 1010 and acts amendatory thereof, to accept assistance for the program under United States Code, title 7, section 1011 and acts amendatory thereof, to engage in works of improvement as necessary for the purpose of the acts and to cooperate with the secretary of agriculture and federal agencies so that residents of this state obtain the benefits and advantages available to them and intended by Congress to be available by the acts. The county boards shall comply with the requirements of federal law and any rules and regulations promulgated under it and with appropriate state laws to accomplish the purposes intended by this section. If a proceeding is instituted by petition for an improvement under this section, it may be conducted by a board in the same manner provided for the establishment of a drainage system under chapter 103E. A majority of the landowners as defined in section 103E.212, subdivision 2, shall be required for a valid petition. They may also proceed under authority provided by other law.