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Essential NRCS Conservation Practice Standards

States also have informative technical notes and job sheets to provide farmers, ranchers, and other landowners additional details on the practice standards.

The first component (agricultural land focus- EQIP/WHIP) will use all three essential practices identified below. The second component (WRP easement management) will use practices (1) and (2):

1. Shallow water development and management (646), which can include one or more of these activities:

  • Impounding water;
  • Flooding land at the right depth for shorebirds (0-4 inches) and waterfowl (average depth 6-10 inches);
  • Changing side slopes so they vary from 9:1 to 20:1 along water margins; and
  • Considering migration timing (for instance, providing habitat for shorebirds from July through October or diving ducks from October through March).

2. Wetland wildlife habitat management (644), which can include:

  • Identifying the habitat needs on-site – whether structural, vegetative, or water;
  • Maintaining, developing, and improving wetland habitat for associated plants and animals;
  • Managing the site to remove invasive plants and replace with natives; and
  • Managing the site specifically for a species or a suite of species needs –such as creating mudflats or sandflats for shorebirds.

3. Early successional habitat development and management (647) (NOT an essential practice for the WRP component of the initiative), which can include:

  • Managing plant succession to benefit migratory birds;
  • Increasing plant diversity;
  • Using native, regionally adapted plants whenever possible; and
  • Conducting periodic disturbances to keep plant community early successional (for instance, with light disking).