New NRCS technical standards

“Conservation practice standards provide criteria for conservation districts, technical service providers and others who offer conservation assistance to provide technically sound practices, on the ground, to our customers,” said Bruce Knight, chief of the federal government’s lead soil and water conservation agency.

The conservation practice standards establish the minimum acceptable level of quality in planning, designing, installing, operating and maintaining conservation practices installed through all NRCS programs, Knight noted.

Currently, NRCS has 166 conservation practice standards in its National Handbook of Conservation Practices. This series of 34 were re-analyzed to determine if they directly affected atmospheric resource quality issues.

If so, air quality was added as a purpose. If not, their effect on air quality was included as a consideration. The practices will help landowners and other customers address a wide variety of atmospheric resource issues on their land, and they will assist with reducing regulated and greenhouse gas emissions and offsets.

The standards were published in the Federal Register with a 30-day public comment period. Comments must be submitted in writing by May 29 to William Hughey, National Agricultural Engineer, USDA-NRCS, P.O. Box 2890, Room 6139-S, Washington DC 20013-2890 (phone 202-720-5023).

Single copies of the standards may be requested from Hughey. They also are available online at

NRCS state conservationists determine which national standards are applicable in their state and add the technical detail needed to effectively use the standards at the field office level.

Standards issued for public review are:

Anaerobic Digester, Ambient Temperature

Anaerobic Digester, Controlled Temperature

Composting Facility

Constructed Wetland

Fish Raceway or Tank

Hedgerow Planting

Irrigation Water Management

Land Clearing

Land Reconstruction, Abandoned Mined Land

Land Reconstruction, Currently Mined Land

Monitoring Well


Pasture and Hayland Planting

Residue Management, Mulch Till

Residue Management, No-Till/Strip Till

Residue Management, Ridge Till

Residue Management, Seasonal

Riparian Forest Buffer

Sediment Basin

Spoil Spreading

Stream Habitat Improvement & Management

Tree/Shrub Establishment

Tree/Shrub Pruning

Upland Wildlife Habitat Management

Waste Facility Cover

Waste Storage Facility

Waste Treatment Lagoon

Waste Utilization

Wetland Creation

Wetland Enhancement

Wetland Restoration

Wetland Wildlife Habitat Management

Windbreak/Shelterbelt Establishment

Windbreak/Shelterbelt Renovation

e-mail: [email protected]

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