EQIP - General 2009
EQIP — Environmental Quality Incentives Program
Most Common Conservation Practices
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) has been around since
1996 and has seen a growth in popularity and funding. EQIP is NRCS’ principal
program for delivering conservation technical and financial assistance to
private landowners. EQIP supports the needs of agricultural operations with or
without livestock by offering ideas, solutions, and guidance for a successful
and sustainable conservation operation. Practices described, and others, can be
selected and installed after developing a conservation plan designed to address
your specific resource concerns. For cropland operations, the following list of
conservation practices are the most commonly used.
Stand Improvement (Conservation Practice Standard 666)
Forest Stand Improvement assists landowners in managing tree species, stand
structure, and by cutting or killing selected trees and understory vegetation.
1. Increases the quantity and quality of forest products, such as,
sawtimber, veneer, wood fiber, poles, maple syrup, and nuts and fruits,
2. Initiates forest stand regeneration,
3. Reduces potential of damage from wildfire, pests, and moisture stress,
4. Improves aesthetic, recreation, and open space values,
5. Improves wildlife habitat,
6. Achieves a desired level of crop tree stocking and density, and
7. Increases carbon storage in selected crop trees.
Stabilization Structure (Conservation Practice Standard 410)
Grade Stabilization Structures are used to stabilize the grade and control
erosion in natural streambanks or artificial channels. These structures help
prevent formation of gullies, enhance environmental quality, and reduce
pollution hazards. Conditions where this practice can be applied include areas
where the concentration and flow velocity of water require structures to
stabilize the grade in channels or to control gully erosion.
Waterway (Conservation Practice Standard 412)
A Grassed Waterway is a natural or constructed channel shaped or graded to
required dimensions and established with suitable vegetation. This practice may
be applied as part of a conservation system to support one or more of the
1. Move water runoff from terraces, diversions, or other concentrated water
flows without causing erosion or flooding,
2. Reduce or prevent gully erosion, and
3. Protect and improve water quality.
Management (Conservation Practice Standard 329, 344, 345, 346)
Residue Management is a practice that manages the amount, orientation, and
distribution of crop and other plant residue on the soil surface year round
while reducing soil disturbing activities. There are four residue management
options that include No-Till, Mulch-Till, Ridge-Till, and Seasonal Tillage.
These practices may be applied as a part of a conservation system to accomplish
one or more of the following objectives:
1. Reduce sheet and rill erosion, 4. Increase soil moisture, and
2. Reduce wind erosion, 5. Provide food and cover for wildlife.
3. Improve soil organic matter content,
Shoreline Protection (Conservation Practice Standard 580)
Streambank and Shoreline Protection practices stabilize and protect banks of
streams, lakes, reservoirs, or constructed channels for one or more of the
1. Prevent, control, or minimize the loss of land or damage to land uses
adjacent to the banks,
2. Maintain the flow capacity of the water body (streams or channels),
3. Reduce sediment loads causing downstream damage and/or pollution, and
4. Improve or enhance the stream and riparian corridor for fish and wildlife.
(Conservation Practice Standard 600)
A Terrace is an earth embankment, or a combination ridge and channel,
constructed across the field slope. These practices may be applied as part of a
resource management system to reduce soil erosion. The practice applies where:
1. Soil erosion by water is a problem,
2. Excess water runoff is a problem,
3. Soils and topography are such that terraces can be constructed and farmed
with a reasonable effort, and
4. A suitable water outlet can be provided.
Establishment (Conservation Practice Standard 612)
A Tree/Shrub Establishment practice introduces woody plants to an area by
planting seedlings or cuttings, or direct seeding. The practice may be applied
as part of a conservation system to support one or more of the following:
1. Establish woody plants for forest products, 5. Treat potential waste
2. Provide wildlife habitat, 6. Reduction of air pollution,
3. Provide long-term erosion control, 7. Capture carbon emissions, and
4. Improve water quality, 8. Enhance aesthetics.
Management (Conservation Practice
Nutrient Management addresses the rate, form, timing, and placement of nutrients
to adequately supply soils and plants what they need to produce food, forage,
and fiber. The techniques, used with other conservation practices, minimize
nutrient losses from fields and protect surface and ground water supplies.
Properly applied, these practices can:
1. Budget, supply, and conserve nutrients for plant production,
2. Minimize agricultural nonpoint source pollution of surface and groundwater
3. Use manure or organic by-products as a plant nutrient source,
4. Protect air quality by reducing odors, nitrogen emissions (ammonia, oxides of
nitrogen), and formation of atmospheric particulates, and
5. Maintain or improve the physical, chemical, and biological condition of soil.
Wildlife Habitat Management (Conservation Practice Standard 645)
Upland Wildlife Habitat Management provides treatment of upland wildlife habitat
concerns identified during the conservation planning process. This practice
enables wildlife mobility; provides shelter and cover; and provides food in
proper amounts, locations, and times to sustain wild animals that inhabit
uplands during a portion of their life cycle. This practice applies on lands:
1. Where the landowner has identified an objective for conserving a wild animal
species, groups of wildlife, or ecosystem, and
2. Within the range of targeted wildlife species and capable of supporting the
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Download Printable Fact Sheet
A Printed Version of this fact sheet is available in
EQIP — Environmental Quality Incentives Program
Most Common Conservation Practices — General
General EQIP 2012.pdf (PDF, 2,198 kb)