Nrcs Nationwide Programmatic Agreement
The NRCS Nationwide Programmatic Agreement: What You Need to Know
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is a federal agency that works to facilitate the protection and conservation of natural resources on privately owned land. One of the ways that the agency does this is through the implementation of a Nationwide Programmatic Agreement (NPA).
The NPA is a legal agreement between the NRCS and state Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) that outlines a streamlined process for the identification, evaluation, and management of historic resources on land that is subject to NRCS actions. The purpose of the agreement is to ensure that the NRCS complies with federal historic preservation laws and regulations while still being able to carry out its conservation mission efficiently.
The NPA covers a wide range of NRCS actions and activities, including the development of conservation plans, the design and construction of conservation practices, and the implementation of various conservation programs. It also covers the NRCS’s involvement in wetland and floodplain restoration and management projects.
One of the key benefits of the NPA is that it provides a more efficient and predictable process for the review and clearance of NRCS actions that may impact historic resources. This is particularly important for farmers and ranchers who participate in NRCS programs and who may need to complete conservation practices or projects on their land.
Under the NPA, the NRCS is required to establish a list of “exempt” activities that are unlikely to affect historic resources. These exempt activities can be reviewed and cleared by the NRCS without further consultation with the SHPO. This helps to streamline the process and reduce delays for farmers and ranchers.
For NRCS actions that are not exempt, the agency must work with the SHPO to evaluate the potential impacts to historic resources. This evaluation may involve identifying historic resources on the property, determining the extent of potential impacts, and developing mitigation measures to avoid or minimize those impacts.
Overall, the NPA is a valuable tool for the NRCS and for farmers and ranchers who participate in NRCS programs. It provides a more efficient and predictable process for the review and clearance of NRCS actions that may impact historic resources, while still ensuring that the agency complies with federal historic preservation laws and regulations. If you are a farmer or rancher participating in an NRCS program, it is important to be aware of the NPA and how it may affect your conservation projects.