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NRCS: On the Land, For the Land. Natural Resources Conservation Service. Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Previously SCS) Created in 1935 in response to the Dust Bowl crisis Non-regulatory--NRCS works with landowners on a voluntary basis. NRCS is not a regulatory agency.
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Natural Resources Conservation Service • Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Previously SCS) • Created in 1935 in response to the Dust Bowl crisis • Non-regulatory--NRCS works with landowners on a voluntary basis
NRCS is not a regulatory agency • Provide technical assistance in... • natural resource planning • design & engineering • implementation of techniques used to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, and protect natural resources
NRCS Mission: To provide leadership in a partnership effort to help people conserve, maintain, and improve our natural resources and environment.
NRCS Clients ... • Farmers & Ranchers • Local units of government • Community groups • Park and Forest Preserve Districts • Watershed Planning groups • ALL Private landowners who need natural resource help!
NRCS is not politically aligned with regulatory agencies or environmental organizations. However, NRCS works with both, helping them to achieve their environmental goals.
NRCS Programs Address ... • Conservation needs on the farm • Community stormwater management issues • Erosion and sediment control • Water quality problems--rural & urban • Flood prevention and damage repair • Soil health & soil quality • Wildlife habitat restoration & management • Wetland creation & restoration
Local SWCDs • Soil and Water Conservation Districts • Composed of locally elected volunteers • NRCS works hand-in-hand with SWCDs to address local conservation issues
90% of NRCS’ Staff are Technical Specialists! We still have forms and paperwork, but we are out on the land MORE than we are behind our desks!
NRCS Technical Specialists... • Soil Scientists • Biologists--Wetlands and Wildlife • Streambank Stabilization Specialists • Engineers--Civil/Agricultural/Hydraulic • Environmental Specialists • Soil Conservationists • Agronomy & Water Quality Specialists • Community Planners • Resource Planning Specialists
NRCS provides assistance on private lands... • ...on the rural landscape • ...in urban & developing communities • ...to limited resource landowners • ...on Indian and Tribal lands • ...in Park Districts, schools, golf courses, and many others
NRCS also works with schools across the state, helping them to plan and implement special environmental/conservation projects on school properties.
School Projects Include... • Agricultural science crop plots • Wetland environments • Community gardens • Tree planting workshops • Prairie landscapes • Trails and interpretive walks • Drainage concerns • Outdoor classrooms
Working with landowners is second nature to NRCSOur goal is to help private landowners protect soil, improve water quality, and increase biodiversity.
The NRCS Process is Simple: 1.Meet with client and discuss resource issues and goals - Define the resource problem/issue - Identify your needs - What limitations must we consider? - What do you want to create? - What do you want to accomplish? - What budget restraints exist?
Process (continued) 2.Inventory & evaluate onsite conditions and natural resources 3. Develop a plan designed to achieve YOUR objectives and goals. 4. Provide one-on-one technical assistance to help you implement the plan and tend to maintenance issues.
Stream bank Erosion • Common problem on creeks, rivers, and small watercourses • Impacted by heavy rainfall events or upstream land use changes • Aesthetically unattractive • Contributes to sedimentation problems
NRCS has time-tested solutions designed to address stream bank erosion problems and to provide a visually attractive, natural landscape.
With bioengineering techniques, the stability of the area can be restored naturally with vegetation. Stream banks can be stabilized permanently, improving water quality and providing wildlife habitat.
Wetland Management • Wetlands require different management techniques • Landscaping around the site can impact the health and maintenance of the wetland • Undesirable/invasive species can ‘out compete’ native, more desirable species • Important to control species like reed canarygrass, and purple loosestrife
NRCS biologists can provide onsite technical assistance and consultation on managing wetlands. Properly managed, wetlands offer water quality and wildlife habitat benefits, as well as aesthetics.
Wetland creation & restoration... • NRCS can provide plans and designs for man-made ponds and wetlands • NRCS soil scientists can identify locations where a previous wetland site can be naturally restored • NRCS can offer recommendations on plant species that will thrive and attract desired wildlife
Creating or “regenerating” a dormant wetland requires experience with wetland soils and plants. NRCS’ technical specialists can help you develop a successful and beautiful wetland environment.
Prairies: Establishment & Management • Strategic placement of prairie areas can address filter and buffer needs • Deep-rooted prairie grasses thrive well in drouthy areas, require low maintenance, and control erosion well • Prairies can be successfully managed with prescribed burning techniques
With NRCS technical assistance, you can nurture beautiful prairie areas that reflect the natural historical environment of the area.
Proper prairie management will ensure its beauty and value as habitat for a variety of wildlife species, such as grassland birds, butterflies, and songbirds.
Wildlife Habitat Development • Creates a more natural setting • Offers quality “outdoor experience” for public • Educates members and the public on the value of natural ecosystems • Provides shelter, food, & nesting for a variety of wildlife
Creating a natural setting restores the landscape to what it once was and improves biodiversity within the watershed.
Tree Management • Overcrowding can reduce health of the entire stand • Invasive trees and ground covers compete for water, sunlight, and nutrients
Woodland management techniques can improve the look, the health, and the life span of trees, as well as attract desirable wildlife species.
Special Soil Limitations & Problems • Compaction • Infiltration • Drainage • Strength • Other soil-related problems
Urban Runoff/Stormwater Issues • Flooding • Runoff management • Flow velocity • Native plant species appropriate for wet or dry detention areas
Watershed Issues • Land use changes in watershed • Runoff/stormwater changes • Increased flooding problems • Involvement in local watershed planning committees • Bridge urban-rural gaps • Educate public
NRCS: A Link to Other Valuable Partners! • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service • The Nature Conservancy • American Farmland Trust • National Park Service • Soil & Water Conservation Districts • Department of Natural Resources • Extension • Other environmental groups
Construction Site & Development Conservation • Develop construction site erosion control plans (NRCS Urban Manual) • Help community officials develop ordinances for construction sites & urban development • Evaluate community planning needs • Provide information & data on farmland preservation issues
NRCS & Partners Can Offer... • Technical assistance, guidance, conservation plans, and engineering designs • Ideas and solutions to meet your environmental/wildlife habitat goals • Cost-Share funds for conservation practices • Accessibility to grants and special funds for wildlife habitat enhancement projects
Programs Available Include... • “Conservation 2000” • These State funds can be used to implement conservation practices for wildlife, educational programs, or water quality improvements.
EPA 319 Grants • These funds can be used to establish any type of project or conservation practice that improves water quality--prairie grasses, buffer strips, wetlands, or streambank stabilization.
NRCS’ Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) • WHIP can provide cost-share assistance for conservation practices on cropland that create or enhance wildlife habitat. WHIP is a competitive program.
NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) • State Habitat Stamp Funds • These funds offer cost-share for the creation, restoration, or improvement of wildlife habitat. Funds can be used for materials, equipment, or practice installation.
U.S, Fish & Wildlife Service’s Private Lands Initiative • These federal funds provide cost-share assistance for wetland restoration projects on private lands.
NRCS’ goals align well with those of most communities and private landowners-- we strive to create a landscape that is functional, productive, visually inspiring, and healthy.
Whether the land is on a golf course, a subdivision, a farm, or a wooded park--it should be protected and used in a way that preserves today’s resources for tomorrow.
For More Information... • Contact your local NRCS office • Contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District office • Visit NRCS’ homepage at www.il.nrcs.usda.gov
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in its programs on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs and marital or familial status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audio tape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET CENTER at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint, write the Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington D.C. 20250, or call 1-800-245-6340 (voice) or (202) 720-1127 (TDD).USDA is an equal employment opportunity employer.