The 1997 National Resources Inventory (NRI) is the latest in a series of inventories conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), formerly the Soil Conservation Service. It provides updated information on the status, condition, and trends of land, soil, water, and related resources on the nation's non-Federal land. The 1997 NRI is unique in that it provides a nationally consistent database that was constructed specifically to estimate 5-, 10- and 15-year trends for natural resources from 1982 to 1997. The 1992 NRI was instrumental in providing data on natural resources for the USDA publication, A Geography of Hope.
Data for the 1997 NRI were collected for more than 8,100 locations in Minnesota by NRCS field personnel, resources inventory specialists, and remote sensing data collectors at the Inventory Collection and Coordination Site in Madison, Wisconsin. The NRI was scientifically designed and conducted and is based on recognized statistical sampling methods. NRI data are statistically reliable for national, regional, state and substate analysis. Generally, however, interpretations at the local level may be misleading.
As the key to interpreting the state of America's land, NRI information will be used to formulate effective public policies, to fashion agricultural and natural resources legislation, to develop state and national conservation programs, and to allocate USDA financial and technical assistance in addressing natural resource concerns.