California Air Quality

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is dedicated to implementing conservation practices that improve air quality.

California is home to some of the worst air quality in the nation with much of the state not meeting federal ambient air quality standards for one or more air pollutants. The air pollutants posing the greatest health and welfare concerns in California's ambient air are ozone and particulate matter.

In addition, through the implementation of California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (California Assembly Bill 32), the State of California has adopted aggressive environmental and energy goals and plans that include: reduce climate change or greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and to 20 percent of 1990 levels by 2050; provide at least 33 percent of electricity demand in 2020 from renewable sources; and establish deadlines for maximizing production of bioenergy and biofuels in California.

Through effective conservation planning, the NRCS can assist landowners and producers with identifying conservation alternatives to help them decide how to best address the air quality resource concerns on their lands. Once decisions are made, NRCS technical assistance can support the implementation of the planned conservation practices, operation and maintenance agreements, and standards and specifications.  Financial assistance may also be available to eligible participants through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), particularly to air quality projects located within areas federally designated as “Nonattainment” of a National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). 

Administered by the NRCS, EQIP was reauthorized in the Farm Bill and awards payment assistance to projects that provide significant environmental benefits. The practices eligible for payment assistance and the environmental score is calculated based upon ranking criteria developed with input from Local Work Groups, Stakeholders, and the State Technical Advisory Committee (STAC).

NRCS Resource Concern Information

Note: Some of the following documents require Acrobat Reader.

Information on Air Quality

  • USDA Air Quality Task Force
    The Agricultural Air Quality Task Force promotes USDA research efforts and identifies cost-effective ways the agriculture industry can improve air quality. It also helps better coordinate activities and resources among USDA agencies and other federal partners, such as the Environmental Protection Agency.  Directed by the Chief of the NRCS, members are comprised of USDA employees, industry representatives, and experts in the fields of agriculture and air quality.  The task force is re-charted every two years.
  • West National Technical Support Center - Air Quality and Atmospheric Change Team
    The NRCS Air Quality and Atmospheric Change Team located at the West National Technical Support Center in Portland, Oregon is responsible for integrating air quality and atmospheric change science and technology into relevant NRCS conservation programs and operations.
  • US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Region 9 Air Programs
    Federal air quality programs serving Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations
  • EPA Green Book of Nonattainment Areas for Criteria Pollutants
    Identifies the areas of the country where air pollution levels persistently exceed the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)
  • California Air Resources Board (ARB)
    The ARB is the lead air quality agency in California responsible for attainment and maintenance of the state and federal air quality standards, California climate change programs, and motor vehicle pollution control.  It oversees county and regional air pollution management programs.
  • California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) – Air Programs
    The DPR is responsible for preventing health problems caused by pesticide air toxins and for reducing pesticide emissions that contribute to air pollution in California.
  • California Air Quality Districts
    A directory of the 35 air quality districts in California responsible for regulating stationary, indirect and area sources of air pollution within a region, county, portion of a county, or group of counties.
  • AirNOW
    Air Quality Index (AQI) forecasts and real-time AQI conditions in California and other regions of the country are easily accessible.

Information on Climate Change

  • NRCS and Climate Change
    Resources, services and tools on climate change that include Comet-Farm, the Rapid Carbon Assessment, the GHG and Carbon Sequestration Tool, and the Conservation Innovation Grants addressing greenhouse gas mitigation and carbon sequestration opportunities.
  • NRCS National Weather and Climate Center
    Develops and transfers water and climate information and technology that support natural resource conservation.  Snow and water data are updated on a daily and hourly basis.
  • USDA Climate Change Program Office (CCPO)
    Through the USDA Office of the Chief Economist, the CCPO ensures that USDA is a source of objective, analytical assessments of the effects of climate change and proposed response strategies both within USDA and its partners.
  • USDA Regional Climate Hubs
    The USDA Regional Climate Hubs deliver information to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to help them adapt to climate change and weather variability.  The Hubs build capacity within USDA by providing information and guidance on technologies and risk management practices at regional and local scales.
  • EPA Clean Energy and Climate Change in the Pacific Southwest
    Information shared on clean energy and climate change resources.
  • ARB Climate Change Programs
    The ARB is the lead agency in California for implementing the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB32). 


Ted Strauss, Director of Air Quality, Climate Change and Energy Conservation
Phone: 559-252-2191, ext 110

Johnnie Siliznoff, California Air Quality Specialist
Phone: 559-252-2191, ext 112