TSSH Part 611

Assistance to Other Units of Government

General information (611.00)

Resource soil scientists may provide information, training, and reports to other units of government without the need for a cooperative agreement if the assistance is directly related to information already provided in published soil survey information.

Cooperative agreements (611.01)

Resource soil scientists may get involved with projects in cooperation with other Federal, State, and local agencies through cooperative agreements (Memorandum of Agreement [MOA]). Agreements should follow guidelines in the Economy Act. The act allows agreements for procurement of goods and services by one agency through another as long as it is beneficial to the U.S. Government and the agency providing the goods and services is compensated. The role of the resource soil scientist should be to provide products related to soil survey and provide technical expertise in soil science.

In some cases an MOA between agencies may already be in place for an NRCS soil scientist to provide technical expertise to another agency. An example of this is the Joint Guidance from the NRCS and the COE Concerning Wetland Determinations for the Clean Water Act and the Food Security Act Manual, which outlines the responsibility of NRCS and the Corps of Engineers (COE) for doing wetland determinations. In this example, NRCS personnel may provide technical expertise to the COE for purposes of wetland delineation, since they have the hydric soils expertise. In return, the COE may provide technical expertise on other wetland issues to NRCS when NRCS lacks the expertise.

In some cases there are more general agreements between NRCS and cooperating agencies. For example, agreements between NRCS and State agricultural agencies and districts are in place for reciprocal assistance in implementation of both Federal and State farm programs.

Also, in some cases a specific agreement may have to be created for special projects that may be done in cooperation with other agencies. An example is an agreement between the agency and a land grant institution to assist in the data collection of soil properties that would be beneficial to both the agency and the institution or to generate criteria property values for local interpretations and, in the process, afford students the opportunity to expand their knowledge of soil science. Resource soil scientists may serve as advisors to the project, but care must be taken not to violate ethics laws. Check with the local NRCS Ethics Liaison before entering into such associations.