Conservation Technical Assistance
The Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) program provides voluntary
conservation technical assistance to land-users, communities, units of state and
local government, and other Federal agencies in planning and implementing
conservation systems. This assistance is for planning and implementing
conservation practices that address natural resource issues. It helps people
voluntarily conserve, improve and sustain natural resources.
Objectives of the program are to:
- Assist individual landusers, communities, conservation districts, and
other units of State and local government and Federal agencies to meet their
goals for resource stewardship and assist individuals to comply with State and
local requirements. NRCS assistance to individuals is provided through
conservation districts in accordance with the memorandum of understanding
signed by the Secretary of Agriculture, the governor of the state, and the
conservation district. Assistance is provided to land users voluntarily
applying conservation and to those who must comply with local or State laws
- Assist agricultural producers to comply with the highly erodible land (HEL)
and wetland (Swampbuster) provisions of the 1985 Food Security Act as amended
by the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990 (16 U.S.C. 3801
et. seq.) and the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 and
wetlands requirements of Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. NRCS makes HEL
and wetland determinations and helps land users develop and implement
conservation plans to comply with the law.
- Provide technical assistance to participants in USDA cost-share and
conservation incentive programs. (Assistance is funded on a reimbursable basis
from the CCC.)
- Collect, analyze, interpret, display, and disseminate information about
the condition and trends of the Nation’s soil and other natural resources so
that people can make good decisions about resource use and about public
policies for resource conservation.
- Develop effective science-based technologies for natural resource
assessment, management, and conservation.
Technical assistance is for planning and implementing natural resource
solutions to reduce erosion, improve soil health, improve water quantity and
quality, improve and conserve wetlands, enhance fish and wildlife habitat,
improve air quality, improve pasture and range health, reduce upstream flooding,
improve woodlands, and address other natural resource issues.
Farm Bill Assistance
The conservation technical assistance base program, wholly or in part,
provides technical assistance for implementation of the Highly Erodible land (HEL)
and Wetland Provisions, and many other programs authorized by the 1996 Farm
Bill. NRCS technical field staff makes HEL and wetland determinations and assist
land-users to develop and implement conservation plans needed to ensure
compliance with the law.
Natural Resources Inventory
The CTA program supports the National Resources Inventory (NRI). The NRI is a
statistically based survey to assess conditions and trends of soil, water, and
related resources on non-Federal lands in the United States. USDA, other Federal
agencies, State and local governments, and other organizations to support
agricultural and conservation policy development and program evaluation use this
The working relationships that landowners and communities have with their
local NRCS staff are unique. One-on-one help through flexible, voluntary
programs occurs every day in local NRCS offices across the country. It is the
way NRCS does business, and it works. To obtain conservation technical
assistance, contact your
local NRCS Service Center.
Denise Gauer, Assistant
State Conservationist for Operations, 605-352-1243