Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) Program is the foundation of the on-the-ground conservation assistance that NRCS provides. Through CTA, NRCS helps people voluntarily conserve, improve and sustain natural resources on their land. Our primary partners in delivering conservation technical assistance are the fifteen Soil Conservation Districts and the NJ Association of Conservation Districts. Other key partners include the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Rutgers University, and other State and Federal Agencies.
In FY2010, NRCS:
Helped New Jersey land mangers apply over 3,500 conservation practices throughout the state to improve soil quality, water quality and other resource concerns.
Prepared materials and staffed 2010 NJ Envirothon (high school environmental competition) with over 200 high school students participating.
Held an intensive 3-day conservation planning training session May 11-13, 2010, at the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area in Monmouth County. Soils investigations, soil and water conservation engineering issues, the conservation planning process and real-life planning exercises with five different landowners and farming operations were presented to over 30 conservation planners from NRCS and partner organizations, such as Soil Conservation Districts and RC&D councils.
NRCS held several training sessions for our staff to build their awareness of organic farming techniques and issues. North Jersey and South Jersey sessions included local NRCS field office staff, Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA-NJ) staff and local organic farmers. Discussions included obstacles to organic farming for producers, the USDA National Organic Program rules and Organic System Plans, certification and inspection of organic farms by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture staff, and NRCS Conservation Plans for organic producers. NOFA-NJ followed up with a series of grower twilight meetings that were attended by NRCS staff, continuing our training and helping to establish our presence in the organic community. The 2008 Farm Bill included specific provisions for use of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to provide assistance for organic growers to implement conservation practices consistent with organic production per the National Organic Program (NOP) requirements.
New Jersey NRCS established three partnership agreements in FY2010 to help diversify and expand our outreach to New Jersey producers.
Pollinator Habitat - Through a partnership with The Xerces Society, a Pollinator Habitat Restoration Specialist for the Mid-Atlantic Region has been retained to provide training and technical oversight to USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service staff and New Jersey farmers on pollinator conservation and native plant restoration.
Wetlands - A wildlife biologist working in partnership with NRCS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offers private landowners assistance with conservation planning. She will help landowners identify the most appropriate conservation programs to reach their goals and facilitate partnerships with landowners, government agencies and nongovernment organizations that result in restoration plans and outcomes that maximizes benefi ts for people, wildlife and the environment.
Organic Growers - An Organic Farming Conservation & Technical Services Specialist joined NOFA-NJ (Northeast Organic Farming Association) as part of an agreement with NRCS New Jersey. The Specialist is available to work with NRCS staff and New Jersey growers to help facilitate easier access to conservation technical assistance, and promote USDA Farm Bill programs in the organic growers community.
Conservation on the Ground in 2010
NRCS assisted in the implementation of over 3,500 conservation practices in New Jersey in 2010. Of the 73 conservation practices available to farmers in New Jersey, the top resource issues addressed were: 1) air-quality improving diesel engines; 2) water quality efficiency improvements to irrigation systems; 3) cover crops to protect and build soil health; 4) fencing and brush management for healthy pastures; 5) nutrient and pest management on annually tilled cropland; 6) thinning for healthier and more disease-resistant forests.
These maps show the the distribution of conservation practices installed with NRCS assistance in New Jersey in 2010. They are also provided below as downloadable pdfs.
All Practices Applied by Program
All Practices Applied by SWAPA (Soil, Water, Animals, Plants, Air)