Natural Resources Conservation Service

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), formerly known as the Soil Conservation Service (SCS), is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that provides technical assistance to farmers and other private landowners and managers.

Its name was changed in 1994 during the presidency of Bill Clinton to reflect its broader mission. It is a relatively small agency, currently comprising about 12,000 employees.[1] Its mission is to improve, protect, and conserve natural resources on private lands through a cooperative partnership with state and local agencies. While its primary focus has been agricultural lands, it has made many technical contributions to soil surveying, classification and water quality improvement.[2][3] One example is the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP), set up to quantify the benefits of agricultural conservation efforts promoted and supported by programs in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (2002 Farm Bill). NRCS is the leading agency in this project.

Natural Resources Conservation Service
Agency overview
FormedSeptember 13, 1933
Preceding agency
  • Soil Conservation Service, Soil Erosion Service
HeadquartersWashington, D.C.
EmployeesApprox 11,000
Agency executives
  • Matt Lohr, Chief
  • Tom Christensen, Associate Chief for Operations
Parent agencyDepartment of Agriculture


The agency was founded largely through the efforts of Hugh Hammond Bennett, a soil conservation pioneer who worked for the Department of Agriculture from 1903 to 1952.[4] Bennett's motivation was based on his knowledge of the detrimental effects of soil erosion and the impacts on U.S lands[5] that led to the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. On September 13, 1933, the Soil Erosion Service was formed in the Department of the Interior, with Bennett as chief. The service was transferred to the Department of Agriculture on March 23, 1935, and was shortly thereafter combined with other USDA units to form the Soil Conservation Service by the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act of 1935.[6][7]

The Soil Conservation Service was in charge of 500 Civilian Conservation Corps camps between 1933 and 1942. The primary purpose of these camps was erosion control.[8]

Hugh Bennett continued as chief, a position he held until his retirement in 1952.[4] On October 20, 1994, the agency was renamed to the Natural Resources Conservation Service as part of the Federal Crop Insurance Reform and Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994.[7][9]

Programs and services

NRCS offers technical and financial assistance to farmers and ranchers. The financial assistance is authorized by the Farm Bill, a law that is renewed every five years. The 2014 Farm Bill consolidated 23 programs into 15. NRCS offers these services to private land owners, conservation districts, tribes, and other types of organizations.[10] NRCS also collects and shares information on the nation's soil, water, air, and plants.

2008 Farm Bill logo (USA)
2008 Farm Bill logo (USA)

Farm bill

The Conservation Title of the Farm Bill provides the funding to agricultural producers, and a conservation plan must be included.[11] All of these programs are voluntary. The main programs include:

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

The purpose of EQIP is to provide assistance to landowners to help them improve their soil, water and related natural resources, including grazing lands, wetlands, and wildlife habitat.

Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

CSP is targeted to a producers who maintain a higher level of environmental stewardship.

Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)

RCPP consolidated four programs from the prior 2008 Farm Bill. It aims at more regional or watershed scale projects, rather than individual farms and ranches.

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)

ACEP was another consolidation effort of the 2014 Farm Bill, which includes the former Grasslands Reserve Program, Farm, and Ranch Lands Protection Program, and Wetlands Reserve Program. ACEP includes technical and financial help to maintain or improve land for agriculture or environmental benefits.

Healthy Forests Reserve Program

(HFRP) Landowners volunteer to restore and protect forests in 30 or 10 year contracts. This program hands assisting funds to participants. The objectives of HFRP are to:

  1. Promote the recovery of endangered and threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)
  2. Improve plant and animal biodiversity
  3. Enhance carbon sequestration [12]

NRCS National Ag Water Management Team

(AGWAM) Serves 10 states in the Midwest United States in helping to reduce Nitrate levels in soil due to runoff from fertilized farmland. The project began in 2010 and initially focused on the Mississippi Basin area. The main goal of the project is to implement better methods of managing water drainage from agricultural uses, in place of letting the water drain naturally as it had done in the past. In October 2011, The National "Managing Water, Harvesting Results"[13] Summit was held to promote the drainage techniques used in hopes of people adopting them nationwide.[14]

Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting

Includes water supply forecasts, reservoirs, and the Surface Water Supply Index (SWSI) for Alaska and other Western states. NRCS agents collect data from snowpack and mountain sites to predict spring runoff and summer streamflow amounts. These predictions are used in decision making for agriculture, wildlife management, construction and development, and several other areas. These predictions are available within the first 5 days of each month from January to June.[15]

Conservation Technical Assistance Program

(CTA) Is a blanket program which involves conservation efforts on soil and water conservation, as well as management of agricultural wastes, erosion, and general longterm sustainability. NRCS and related agencies work with landowners, communities, or developers to protect the environment. Also serve to guide people to comply with acts such as the Highly Erodible Land, Wetland (Swampbuster), and Conservation Compliance Provisions acts. The CTA can also cover projects by state, local, and federal governments.[16]

20111216-NRCS-LSC-0126 - Flickr - USDAgov
USDA-NRCS State Conservationist Salvador Salinas with federal and state partners held a press conference at the Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge, in Austwell, TX, on Friday, Dec. 16, 2011. Salinas covered the recent announcement of the USDA-NRCS Gulf of Mexico Initiative (GoMI) efforts to improve water quality, habitat, and the health of the Gulf ecosystem.

Gulf of Mexico Initiative

Is a program to assist gulf bordering states (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas) improve water quality and use sustainable methods of farming, fishing, and other industry. The program will deliver up to 50 million dollars over 2011-2013 to apply these sustainable methods, as well as wildlife habitat management systems that do not hinder agricultural productivity, and prevent future over use of water resources to protect native endangered species.[17]

International programs

The NRCS (formerly SCS) has been involved in soil and other conservation issues internationally since the 1930s. The main bulk of international programs focused on preventing soil erosion by sharing techniques known to the United States with other areas. NRCS sends staff to countries worldwide to conferences to improve knowledge of soil conservation.[18] There is also international technical assistance programs similar to programs implemented in the United States. There are long-term technical assistance programs in effect with one or more NRCS staff residing in the country for a minimum of one year. There are currently long-term assistance programs on every continent. Short-term technical assistance is also available on a two-week basis.[19]

These programs are to encourage local landowners and organizations to participate in the conservation of natural resources on their land, and lastly, landscape planning has a goal to solve problems dealing with natural resource conservation with the help of the community in order to reach a desired future outcome.[20]

Programs and services

NRCS offers technical and financial assistance to farmers and ranchers. The financial assistance is authorized by the Farm Bill, a law that is renewed every five years. The 2014 Farm Bill consolidated 23 programs into 15. NRCS offers these services to private land owners, conservation districts, tribes, and other types of organizations.

Technical resources


There is a long history of U.S. Soil Survey including federal scientists and cooperators through the National Cooperative Soil Survey. Soil survey products include: Web Soil Survey ,NCSS Characterization Database, and many investigative reports and journal articles. [21] In 2015, NRCS began broad support of soil health, which incorporates less tillage and more cover crops to reduce erosion and improve the diversity of the soil.[22]


Pollution of water due to a number of different pollutants has driven the NRCS to take action. Not only do they offer financial assistance but they also provide the equipment needed for private land owners to protect our water resources.[23] Water gets polluted by nitrogen and phosphorus which causes algae to grow proliferously causing the oxygen concentrations to decline rapidly, life is no longer supported in this habitat.[24] Excessive sedimentation is also another concern along with pathogens threats that can find their way into water systems and cause detrimental effects.[24] NRCS works in a way to help both the land owner and the water systems that need prevention or restoration.

Water management

Water management strives to manage and control the flow of water in a way that is efficient while causing the least amount of damage to life and property.[25] This helps provide protection in high risk areas from flooding. Irrigation water management is the most efficient way to use and recycle water resources for land owners and farmers.[25] Drainage management is the manipulation of the sub surface drainage networks in order to properly disperse the water to the correct geographical areas.[26] The NRCS engineering vision is constantly making improvements to irrigation systems in a way that incorporates every aspect of water restoration.[27]

Water quality

A team of highly trained experts on every aspect of water is employed by the NRCS to analyze water from different sources. They work in many areas such as: hydrology and hydraulics, stream restoration, wetlands, agriculture, agronomy, animal waste management, pest control, salinity, irrigation, and nutrients in water.[28]

Watershed program

Under watershed programs the NRCS works with states, local governments, and tribes by providing funding and resources in order to help restore and also benefit from the programs.[29] They provide: watershed protection, flood mitigation, water quality improvement, soil erosion reduction, irrigation, sediment control, fish and wildlife enhancement, wetland and wetland function creation and restoration, groundwater recharge, easements, wetland and floodplain conservation easements, hydropower, watershed dam rehabilitation.[29]

Plants and animals

Plants and animals play a huge role in the health of our ecosystems. A delicate balance exists between relationships of plants and animals. If an animal is introduced to an ecosystem that is not native to the region that it could destroy plants or animals that should not have to protect itself from this particular threat. As well as if a plant ends up in a specific area where it should not be it could have adverse effects on the wildlife that try to eat it. NRCS protects the plants and animals because they provide us with food, materials for shelter, fuel to keep us warm, and air to breathe.[30] Without functioning ecosystems we would have none of the things mentioned above. NRCS provides guidance to assist conservationists and landowners with enhancing plant and animal populations as well as helping them deal with invasive species.[30]

Fish and wildlife

NRCS for years has been working toward restoration, creation, enhancement, and maintenance for aquatic life on the nearly 70% of land that is privately owned in order to keep the habitats and wildlife protected.[31] NRCS with a science-based approach, provides equipment to wildlife and fish management. They also do this for landowners who qualify .[31]

Insects and pollinators

Pollination by insects plays a huge role in the production of food crop and flowering plants. Without pollinators searching for nectar and pollen for food the plants would not produce a seed that will create another plant. NRCS sees the importance of this process so they are taking measures to increase the declining number of pollinators.[32] There are many resources provided from the NRCS that will help any individual do their part in conservation of these important insects. Such as Backyard Conservation which tells an individual exactly how to help by just creating a small habitat in minutes. There are many others such as: Plants for pollinators, pollinators habitat in pastures, pollinator value of NRCS plant releases in conservation planting, plant materials publications relating to insects and pollinators, PLANTS database: NRCS pollinator documents.[32] All of these are valuable resources that any individual can take advantage of.

Invasive species and pests

Many adverse effects are present due to invasive species. Plants and animals both inhabit areas that they are not intended to be. The kudzu vine for example covers miles of foliage.[33] These invasive species cause America's reduction in economic productivity and ecological decline.[33] Humans are unknowingly transporting these invasive species via ships, planes, boats, and their own bodies.[33] NRCS works in collaboration with the plant materials centers scattered throughout the country in order to get a handle on the invasive species of plants. These centers scout out the plants and take measures to control and eradicate them from the particular area.[34] Invasive animals such as feral hog, European gypsy moth, and the sirex woodwasp pose a significant threat to America's wildlife as well as to the health of human beings.[33] The hog was introduced as a food source for humans, but now the swine pandemic is a serious threat to humans.[35] The gypsy moth destroys natural forests that are habitat to many beneficial species.[36] The Woodwasp feeds on pine trees as well as providing a means of transportation for a fungus that kills pine trees.[37]


Livestock management is an area of interest for the NRCS because if not maintained valuable resources such as food, wools, and leather would not be available. The proper maintenance of livestock can also improve soil and water resources by providing a waste management system so that run off and erosion is not a problem.[38] The NRCS provides financial assistance to land owners with grazing land and range land that is used by livestock in order to control the run off of waste into fresh water systems and prevent soil erosion.[38]


Plants are a huge benefit to the health of ecosystems. NRCS offers significant amounts of resources to individuals interested in conserving plants. From databases full of information to financial assistance the NRCS works hard to provide the means needed to do so. The plant materials program, Plant materials centers, Plant materials specialists, PLANTS database, National Plant Data Team (NPDT) are all used together to keep our ecosystems as healthy as possible.[39] This includes getting rid of unwanted species and building up species that have been killed off that are beneficial to the environment. The NRCS utilizes a very wide range of interdisciplinary resources.

The NRCS also utilizes the following disciplines in order to maximize efficiency:

  • Agronomy
  • Erosion
  • Air Quality and Atmospheric Change
  • Animal Feeding Operations and Confined Animal Feeding Operations
  • Biology
  • Conservation Innovation Grants
  • Conservation Practices
  • Cultural Resources
  • Economics
  • Energy
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Compliance
  • Field Office Technical Guide
  • Forestry,
  • Maps
  • Data and Analysis
  • Nutrient Management
  • Pest Management
  • Range and Pasture
  • Social Sciences
  • Soils, and Water Resources

These Science-Based technologies are all used together in order to provide the best conservation of natural resources possible.[20]

Supported organizations

Established in 2006, the GBVPMC serves Nevada, California, and parts of Utah and Oregon. The main purpose of the center is to combat damage done by invasive plant species in the area, which have done great damage to ecosystems in the Great Basin. They also aid in restoring ecosystems damaged by fires, climate change, drought, or other natural disasters. The centers provides native plants to help restore these damaged areas. They also do work developing plant organisms and technologies that are suited for the dry, high salt content soil of the area.[41]

  • National Association of Conservation Districts

(NACD) A non-profit agency which serves 3,000 conservation districts across the United States. There about 17,000 individuals who serve on the governing boards of conservation districts. Local conservation districts work with landowners to help manage land and water resources. The mission of NACD is to provide leadership and a unified voice for natural resource conservation in the United States.[42] The NACD grew in the 1930s from a statewide operation in Oklahoma, and many independent districts, to a unified National organization in 1946See also

See also


  1. ^ "People". Natural Resources Conservation Service. Archived from the original on 2017-08-04. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  2. ^ U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Washington, DC. "Soil Survey Programs." Archived 2011-07-26 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 2009-06-05.
  3. ^ NRCS. "National Conservation Practice Standards." Archived 2011-06-11 at the Wayback Machine National Handbook of Conservation Practices. Accessed 2009-06-05.
  4. ^ a b Cook, Maurice. "Hugh Hammond Bennett: the Father of Soil Conservation". Department of Soil Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. North Carolina State University. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  5. ^ "Biography of Hugh Hammond Bennett". NRCS. Archived from the original on 2007-12-27. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
  6. ^ Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act, P.L. 74-46, 49 Stat. 163, 16 U.S.C. § 590(e), April 27, 1935.
  7. ^ a b "Records of the Natural Resources Conservation Service". NARA. Archived from the original on 2007-12-07. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
  8. ^ Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Archived 2013-05-30 at the Wayback Machine, Online Highways LLC. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  9. ^ Federal Crop Insurance Reform and Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994, 108 Stat. 3223, October 13, 1994.
  10. ^ "USDA NRCS - Natural Resources Conservation Service". Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  11. ^ "USDA NRCS - Natural Resources Conservation Service". Archived from the original on 2013-10-31. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  12. ^ "USDA NRCS - Natural Resources Conservation Service". 2013-09-30. Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  13. ^ "Ag Water Management Summit | NRCS". Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  14. ^ "Water Management | NRCS". Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  15. ^ "USDA NRCS - Natural Resources Conservation Service". Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  16. ^ "Purpose of the CTA Program | NRCS". Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  17. ^ "Gulf of Mexico Initiative | NRCS". Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  18. ^ "International Programs | NRCS". Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  19. ^ "International Technical Assistance | NRCS | NRCS". Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  20. ^ a b "USDA NRCS - Natural Resources Conservation Service". Archived from the original on 2013-11-02. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-10-16. Retrieved 2017-10-16.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ "Soil Health | NRCS". Archived from the original on 2016-01-08. Retrieved 2015-11-28.
  23. ^ "USDA NRCS - Natural Resources Conservation Service" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  24. ^ a b Oenema, Oene; van Liere, Lowie; Schoumans, Oscar (2005). "Effects of lowering nitrogen and phosphorus surpluses in agriculture on the quality of groundwater and surface water in the Netherlands". Journal of Hydrology. 304: 289–301. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2004.07.044.
  25. ^ a b "USDA NRCS - Natural Resources Conservation Service". Archived from the original on 2 May 2018. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  26. ^ "Drainage | NRCS". Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  27. ^ "Conservation Engineering Division (CED) | NRCS". Archived from the original on 2016-01-08. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  28. ^ "USDA NRCS - Natural Resources Conservation Service" (in Greek). Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  29. ^ a b "USDA NRCS - Natural Resources Conservation Service". Archived from the original on 2013-11-02. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  30. ^ a b "USDA NRCS - Natural Resources Conservation Service". Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  31. ^ a b "USDA NRCS - Natural Resources Conservation Service". Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  32. ^ a b "USDA NRCS - Natural Resources Conservation Service". Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  33. ^ a b c d "USDA NRCS - Natural Resources Conservation Service". Archived from the original on 2013-08-18. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  34. ^ "USDA NRCS - Natural Resources Conservation Service". Archived from the original on 2016-01-08. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  35. ^ "Invasive Species: Animals - Wild Boar (Sus scrofa)". 2013-10-17. Archived from the original on 2014-01-25. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  36. ^ "Invasive Species: Animals - European Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar)". Archived from the original on 2013-12-19. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  37. ^ "Invasive Species: Animals - Sirex Woodwasp (Sirex noctilio)". 2013-09-24. Archived from the original on 2013-07-25. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  38. ^ a b "USDA NRCS - Natural Resources Conservation Service". Archived from the original on 2013-11-03. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  39. ^ "USDA NRCS - Natural Resources Conservation Service". Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  40. ^ "Great Basin Plant Materials Center". USDA NRCS. Archived from the original on 8 October 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  41. ^ "Great Basin Plant Materials Center | NRCS Plant Materials Program". Archived from the original on 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  42. ^ "About NACD". Archived from the original on 2012-10-20. Retrieved 2013-10-31.

External links

Antigo (soil)

Antigo soils are among the most extensive soils in Wisconsin. They occur on about 300,000 acres (1,200 km²) in the northern part of the State. Antigo soils are well-drained and formed under northern hardwood forests in loess and loamy sediments over stratified sandy outwash. The average annual precipitation ranges from 28 to 33 inches (71 to 84 cm), and the average annual air temperature ranges from 39 to 45 °F (4 to 7 °C). The soil series was named after the city of Antigo, Wisconsin.They are very productive soils for corn, small grain, and hay. In some areas, potatoes or snap beans are important crops. The steeper areas are used for pasture or for timber production.

In 1983, with the lobbying of University of Wisconsin–Madison soil scientist Francis Hole, the Wisconsin Legislature designated Antigo silt loam as the official State soil of Wisconsin.


A backroad is a secondary type of road usually found in rural areas.

In North Carolina, where they are also referred to as "blue roads", backroads are one- or two-laned roads off of larger roads such as parkways, and are often constructed of gravel.In Vermont, the Natural Resources Conservation Service has established a Better Backroads program to help towns and organizations deal with road-related soil erosion problems through grants. Both paved and unpaved backroads are eligible for these grants, which seek to protect water quality from sediment accumulation caused by road and ditch erosion.Many back-roads in North Carolina were created when the states rural transportation system began investing for factories to located outside of urban areas and into rural areas. This created a system of back-roads that allowed for factories to disperse away from busy urban areas. This was done in the late 1940's under Governor Kerr Scott where investment began and was known as the states rural farm-to-market road system. The idea for the farm-to-market road system was to connect farms out in rural areas to the markets in which they sold their produce, this would allow for easy transportation for those who transported there goods to market places. Ultimately these types of roads became state highways or nice quality roads however, the importance of there beginnings is that they began as rural back-roads for agricultural purposes.

Bayou Bartholomew

Bayou Bartholomew is the longest bayou in the world meandering approximately 364 miles (586 km) between the U.S. states of Arkansas and Louisiana. It contains over 100 aquatic species making it the second most diverse stream in North America. Known for its excellent bream, catfish, and crappie fishing, portions of the bayou are considered some of the best kept secrets of Arkansas anglers. It starts northwest of the city of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, in the Hardin community, winds through parts of Jefferson, Lincoln, Desha, Drew, Chicot, and Ashley counties in Arkansas, and Morehouse Parish, Louisiana, and eventually dumps into the Ouachita River after passing by the northernmost tip of Ouachita Parish, near Sterlington, Louisiana. The bayou serves as the primary border separating the Arkansas Delta from the Arkansas Timberlands.

The present bayou bed was formed by the waters of the Arkansas River during a period when it was constantly changing courses. Approximately 1,800 to 2,200 years ago, the river diverted from the present area of the bayou, and the leisurely bayou began to develop in the old river bed. Until construction of railroad lines in the area in the late 19th century, it was the most important stream for transportation in the interior Delta. It allowed the development of one of the richest timber and agricultural industries in the Delta area.

Once a pristine stream, it is now polluted, log-jammed, and over-sedimented in certain sections. In 1995, Dr. Curtis Merrell of Monticello (Drew County) organized the Bayou Bartholomew Alliance to "restore and preserve the natural beauty" of the bayou. With help from the Alliance, many government organizations (such as the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Soil and Water Conservation Commission, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), Ducks Unlimited, and the public, the bayou may eventually reclaim some of its grandeur. Projects underway include monitoring water quality, planting trees for buffer zones, restoring riparian sites ruined by clear-cutting, trash removal, removing log jams, bank stabilization, building boat ramps, and encouraging no-till farming.

Coginchaug River

The Coginchaug River in Connecticut, with a watershed including 39 sq mi of forests, pastures, farmland, industrial, and commercial areas, is the main tributary of the Mattabesset River. It is 16.1 mi long, and the river flows northwards from a point approximately 1.8 mi south of the Durham line in Guilford, Connecticut into Durham and then Middlefield, meeting the Mattabesset in Middletown, about 0.8 miles (1.3 km) upstream of the Connecticut River. The name "Coginchaug" comes from a local Native American name for the Durham area and it was the original name for the town. It has been said to mean "The Great Swamp", and is a reference to the meadows found in the central part of town.

In 2006, the Coginchaug was among Connecticut's 85 waterways cited to be of "lower quality", in view of the elevated levels of bacteria, including E. coli. Currently, efforts are being made by the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture to reduce the number of bacteria introduced into the river from untreated sewage, sanitary sewer overflow, agricultural runoff, leaking septic tanks, etc.

Conservation Security Program

The Conservation Security Program (CSP) was a voluntary conservation program in the United States that supported stewardship of private agricultural lands by providing payments and technical assistance for maintaining and enhancing natural resources. The program promoted the conservation and improvement of soil, water, air, energy, plant and animal life, and other conservation purposes. Congress established the CSP under the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (FSRIA), which amended the Food Security Act of 1985. The program was administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

In 2008 Congress enacted the 2008 Farm Bill and replaced the Conservation Security Program with the similarly named, but differently structured Conservation Stewardship Program.

Donald Valdez

Donald Valdez is a Democratic member of the Colorado House of Representatives. He represents District 62, which covers portions of Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Huerfano, Mineral County, Pueblo County, Rio Grande, and Saguache counties. Valdez took his seat in 2017, succeeding Ed Vigil.

Valdez has a background in farming and ranching and worked for the Natural Resources Conservation Service before taking office. He has also served as Deputy Public Trustee and Deputy Sheriff in Conejos County.Valdez serves on the House Agriculture, Livestock, & Natural Resources Committee and the House Local Government Committee.

Erosion control

Erosion control is the practice of preventing or controlling wind or water erosion in agriculture, land development, coastal areas, river banks and construction. Effective erosion controls handle surface runoff and are important techniques in preventing water pollution, soil loss, wildlife habitat loss and human property loss.

Greenwich (soil)

Greenwich is the official state soil of Delaware. According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, "The Greenwich series consists of very deep, well-drained, moderately rapidly permeable soils that formed in sandy marine and old alluvial sediments overlain by a thin mantle of sediments that have a high content of silt."


Menfro soil is a series of deep, well drained, moderately permeable soils formed in 6-to-20-foot (1.8 to 6.1 m) thick loess deposits. It is found in central and eastern Missouri and west-central and southwestern Illinois on upland ridgetops, backslopes, and benches adjacent to the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and their major tributaries. Menfro soils are prime farmland where the slope is less than 6 percent.

Menfro soil strata consist of:

Menfro is the state soil of Missouri.

It was the first soil to go on display when Scientists from the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the USDA, the Soil Science Society of America and others worked with exhibit designers from the Smithsonian Institution on a display of soil monoliths from every state.

National Integrated Drought Information System

The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) Act was signed into law in 2006 (Public Law 109-430). The Western Governors' Association described the need for NIDIS in a 2004 report, Creating a Drought Early Warning System for the 21st Century: The National Integrated Drought Information System. The NIDIS Act calls for an interagency, multi-partner approach to drought monitoring, forecasting, and early warning, led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).NIDIS is being developed to consolidate data on drought’s physical, hydrological, and socio-economic impacts on an ongoing basis, to develop drought decision support and simulation tools for critical, drought-sensitive areas, and to enable proactive planning by those affected by drought.

NIDIS draws on the personnel, experience, and networks of the National Drought Mitigation Center, the NOAA Regional Climate Centers, and the Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (RISAs), among others. Federal agencies and departments partnering in NIDIS include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Geological Survey, NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.NIDIS is building on existing system infrastructure, data, and operational products from various agencies. For example, it incorporates data from the SNOTEL (SNOw TELemetry) network of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, reservoir and streamflow levels from the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and river forecasts from the National Weather Service. It incorporates operational products such as the U.S. Drought Monitor and the Seasonal Drought Outlook. Researchers are working to help decision-makers in many contexts by making drought monitoring, forecasting, and impacts information available at a variety of spatial scales and geopolitical boundaries, including regional, watershed, county and tribal. NIDIS is a prototype for information services, in support of preparing for and adapting to climate variation and change. In late 2007, NIDIS launched the U.S. Drought Portal, or, a website that pulls together many federal, state, and academic resources for monitoring drought.The NIDIS Program is supported by the NOAA Climate Program Office and is housed at the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.

National Water and Climate Center

The United States National Water and Climate Center collects and disseminates water resources and climate data.It is part of the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The offices are located in Portland, Oregon near Lloyd Center.Services include:

Operates the SNOTEL network which controls and collects data from more than 730 automated snowpack and climate sensor sites.


Physocarpus, commonly called ninebark, is a genus of flowering plants in the family Rosaceae, native to North America (most species) and northeastern Asia (one species).


Polystichum is a genus of about 260 species of ferns with a cosmopolitan distribution. The highest diversity is in eastern Asia, with about 120 species in China alone; the region from Mexico to Brazil has nearly 100 additional species; Africa (17 species), North America (15 species), and Europe (5 species) have much lower diversity. Polystichum species are terrestrial or rock-dwelling ferns of warm-temperate and montane-tropical regions (a few species grow in alpine regions).


SNOTEL is an automated system of snowpack and related climate sensors operated by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of the United States Department of Agriculture in the Western United States.

There are over 730 SNOTEL (or snow telemetry) sites in 11 states, including Alaska. The sites are generally located in remote high-mountain watersheds where access is often difficult or restricted. Access for maintenance by the NRCS includes various modes from hiking and skiing to helicopters.All SNOTEL sites measure snow water content, accumulated precipitation, and air temperature. Some sites also measure snow depth, soil moisture and temperature, wind speed, solar radiation, humidity, and atmospheric pressure. These data are used to forecast yearly water supplies, predict floods, and for general climate research.

Soil quality

Soil quality is a measure of the condition of soil relative to the requirements of one or more biotic species and or to any human need or purpose. According to the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, "Soil quality is the capacity of a specific kind of soil to function, within natural or managed ecosystem boundaries, to sustain plant and animal productivity, maintain or enhance water and air quality, and support human health and habitation. The European Commission's Joint Research Centre proposed a definition, stating that "Soil quality is an account of the soil's ability to provide ecosystem and social services through its capacities to perform its functions under changing conditions."Soil quality reflects how well a soil performs the functions of maintaining biodiversity and productivity, partitioning water and solute flow, filtering and buffering, nutrient cycling, and providing support for plants and other structures. Soil management has a major impact on soil quality.

Soil quality in agricultural terms is measured on a scale of soil value (Bodenwertzahl) in Germany.

Soil quality relates to soil functions. Unlike water or air, for which established standards have been set, soil quality is difficult to define or quantify. Soil quality can be evaluated using the Soil Management Assessment Framework.


Trichomanes is a large genus of ferns in the family Hymenophyllaceae, termed bristle ferns. Some botanists place it in its own family, Trichomanaceae. All ferns in the hymenophylloid clade are filmy ferns, with leaf tissue typically 2 cells thick. This thinness generally necessitates a permanently humid habitat, and makes the fronds somewhat translucent.

The name bristle fern refers to the small bristle that protrudes from the indusia of these ferns.

At least one species now is known to exist solely in its gametophytic stage. Trichomanes intricatum has no known sporophytes and is native to eastern North America.

USDA soil taxonomy

USDA soil taxonomy (ST) developed by United States Department of Agriculture and the National Cooperative Soil Survey provides an elaborate classification of soil types according to several parameters (most commonly their properties) and in several levels: Order, Suborder, Great Group, Subgroup, Family, and Series. The classification was originally developed by Guy Donald Smith, former director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's soil survey investigations.

Wetlands Reserve Program

The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) is a voluntary program offering landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands on their property. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers the program with funding from the Commodity Credit Corporation.

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