NRCS has implemented a broad spectrum of initiatives since January of 2009. These initiatives enable NRCS to more effectively address priority natural resource concerns by delivering systems of practices, primarily to the most vulnerable lands within geographic focus areas.
Through these initiatives, NRCS seeks to accomplish:
Conservation beyond boundaries—Landscape-scale natural resource concerns, such as species conservation and water quality, cannot be treated effectively based on geo-political boundaries. NRCS recognizes that natural resource concerns transcend farm, county, and state boundaries.
A science-based approach — Findings from the multi-agency Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) indicate the most effective way to increase protection of natural resources is to target conservation to the most vulnerable or valuable areas and to apply a systems rather than a practice-by-practice approach. Within individual initiatives, the best available university and government science resources are used to define initiative targeting approaches.
Build on existing locally-led efforts and partnerships — NRCS seeks to maximize the success of initiatives by leveraging partner interest and resources through programmatic and other tools.
Regulatory certainty for agricultural producers — Where applicable, NRCS is working with regulators so agricultural producers can have certainty that the voluntary conservation systems they implement are consistent with current and potential regulation, as well as sustained agricultural production.
Restoring and protecting watersheds in eight states surrounding the Great Lakes that provide drinking water for over 40 million Americans and drive a $62 billion annual economy of fishing, boating and recreational activities.
Improving water quality, increasing water conservation and enhancing wildlife habitat within watersheds draining into the Gulf of Mexico in the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
Reducing nutrients, bacteria and sediment and enhancing the economic viability of agricultural operations within the Illinois River Sub-Basin and Eucha-Spavinaw Lake Watershed of Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Expanding Lesser prairie-chicken habitat and benefiting the long-term sustainability of producers’ agricultural operations in high priority habitat areas in the current range in the states of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
Improving water quality, restoring wetlands, and enhancing wildlife habitat and agricultural profitability in priority small watersheds of the Mississippi River in the states of Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Reducing aquifer water use, improving water quality and enhancing the economic viability of croplands and rangelands in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New Mexico, Texas, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Red River Initiative (RRI)
Decreasing water quantity flowing into the Red River and its tributaries to reduce flooding potential, increasing water quality, and restoring wildlife habitat for migratory species.