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Conservation Planning Bootcamp


This course teaches new field employees how to guide decision makers through a comprehensive conservation planning process that complies with national policy. The course uses classroom and field experience to demonstrate to participants how the Agency and its conservation partners work together to conserve, maintain, and improve natural resources while meeting our customers’ needs. It provides participants with instructions in basic conservation planning, as well as, focuses on the diversity of the conservation environment in which the Agency employees work to ensure conservation on private lands.

The video, "The NRCS Boot Camp Experience" shows you previous Boot Camp attendees discussing their Boot Camp experiences and explains the purpose of the NRCS Boot Camp to prospective attendees. To view the video "The NRCS Boot Camp Experience" click here.

To view Chief Dave White's NRCS Boot Camp Welcome Video click here.


Course Objective

At the end of the training, a participant will be able to guide decision makers through the NRCS conservation planning process while complying with national policy.

Course Structure
  • Interaction of NRCS employees with decision makers
  • NRCS nine step planning process
  • Working farm with diverse land use, resource issues and decision maker present
  • Concepts, processes, and tools that apply nationally
  • Hands on training
  • Compliance with national policy
Framework of Training and Major Activities

     NRCS Nine Step Conservation Planning Process

  • Phase I – Planning Process (Collection and Analysis)
    • Gathering data before and during site visit
    • Interviewing Decision Maker to determine their objectives
    • Determining resource issues for different land uses
    • Using tools to analyze and understand resource issues and concerns
  • Phase II – Planning Process (Decision Support)
    • Formulating alternative treatments
    • Analyzing alternatives against Quality Criteria & Decision Maker objectives
    • Presenting Conservation System alternatives and impacts to Decision Maker
    • Presenting complete conservation plan to Decision Maker
  • Phase III – Planning Process (Application and Evaluation)
    • Application of decisions
    • Evaluating practices and system against desired results
    • Benefits of conservation follow-up
Examples of Coursework and Tools
  • Interpreting maps digitally and hardcopy
  • Selling concepts such as soil quality, soil erosion, & economics to decision makers
  • Using tools including: cpa-6 notes, GPS, ESIS, grazing lands sampling methods, clinometers, CPPE, SPEW, NPPH, eFOTG, soil quality test kits, customer service toolkit, WIN PST, RUSLE2. National Range and Pasture inventory tools, forestry tools, wildlife habitat appraisal guides, wind erosion equation, and engineering survey tools such as autolevels, tripods, and rods.

Prerequisites (Available through AgLearn)

  • Conservation Planning, Part 1 (NRCS-NEDC-000019)
  • Cultural Resources Training Series, Part 1 (NRCS-NEDC-000141)
  • Environmental Compliance for Conservation Assistance (NRCS-NEDC-000190)
  • Introduction to NRCS (NRCS-NEDC-000008)
  • Introduction to Field Office Technical Guide, (FOTG) (NRCS-NEDC--000149)
  • Introduction to Conservation Forestry Planning (NRCS-NEDC-000195)
  • Air Quality, Climate Change and Energy (NRCS-NEDC-000253)


Three (3) Weeks

Target Audience

The Conservation Boot Camp program is designed for new employees in the following series:

  • 0400 Series – Biological Sciences
  • 0800 Series – Engineering and Architecture
  • 0110 Series – Economists
  • 1300 Series – Physical Sciences

Employees should attend 6 – 18 months after joining the Agency. When calculating the number of months for an employee, include all time worked in all capacities including time as a temporary employee or student intern.

The State Conservationist or Organizational Head certifies the need for this training for all participants enrolled.

NEDC Contact

Troy Krenzel

Technical Specialist

Arlen Ricke, Landscape Planning Specialist, NHQ, 202-720-1868,