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Washington | Conservation Technical Assistance & Resources

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's principal agency for providing conservation technical assistance to private landowners, conservation districts, tribes, and other organizations.


NRCS delivers conservation technical assistance through its voluntary Conservation Technical Assistance Program (CTA).  CTA is available to any group or individual interested in conserving our natural resources and sustaining agricultural production in this country.

The CTA program functions through a national network of locally-based, professional conservationists located in nearly every county of the United States.

What is Conservation Technical Assistance?

Conservation technical assistance is the help NRCS and its partners provide to land users to address opportunities, concerns, and problems related to the use of natural resources and to help land users make sound natural resource management decisions on private, tribal, and other non-federal lands.

This assistance can help land users:

  • Maintain and improve private lands and their management
  • Implement better land management technologies
  • Protect and improve water quality and quantity
  • Maintain and improve wildlife and fish habitat
  • Enhance recreational opportunities on their land
  • Maintain and improve the aesthetic character of private land
  • Explore opportunities to diversify agricultural operations and
  • Develop and apply sustainable agricultural systems

This assistance may be in the form of resource assessment, practice design, resource monitoring, or follow-up of installed practices.

Although the CTA program does not include financial or cost-share assistance, clients may develop conservation plans, which may serve as a springboard for those interested in participating in USDA financial assistance programs. CTA planning can also serve as a door to financial assistance and easement conservation programs provided by other Federal, State, and local programs.

Who Needs Conservation Technical Assistance?

NRCS and its partners use the CTA program to provide technical assistance to:

  • farmers
  • ranchers
  • local units of government
  • citizen groups
  • recreation groups
  • Tribal governments
  • professional consultants
  • State and Federal agencies
  • and others interested in conserving natural resources

This voluntary program is delivered to private individuals, groups of decision-makers, tribes, units of governments, and non-governmental organizations in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and the Marshall Islands.

All owners, managers, and others who have a stake and interest in natural resource management are eligible to receive technical assistance from NRCS. To receive technical assistance, the individual may contact their local NRCS office or the local conservation district. 

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 office.

The following items have been made available to assist with a variety of ecological and engineering issues. Please check back frequently as this page will be updated as more materials become available.

Plant Materials

Reed Canary Grass Management Guide
Recommendations for Landowners an Restoration Specialists
This management guide contains very good information on the control of Reed Canary Grass (RCG) and on the restoration of sites dominated by RCG. This publication originates from Wisconsin so although most of the management and control advise is appropriate for our area many of the species recommended are not.

Palouse Prairie Restoration
This brochure contains information about how to grow native grasses and wildflowers that were once more widespread and abundant in the Palouse.

Range & Pasture

Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health

Qualitative assessments of rangeland health provide land managers and technical assistance specialists with a good communication tool for use with the public. Many of these tools have been used successfully for this purpose over the past 100 years. This technique, in association with quantitative monitoring and inventory information, can be used to provide early warnings of resource problems on upland rangelands.


Estimating Soil Moisture by Feel and Appearance

The "feel and appearance method" is one of several irrigation scheduling methods used in IWM. It is a way of monitoring soil moisture to determine when to irrigate and how much water to apply.

Resource Assessments

NRCS State Resource Assessment
This document provides an overview of the state’s natural resource concerns on private and tribal lands, as identified through the local work group process.  It includes the findings from the NRCS Tribal Resource Assessment.

NRCS State Resource Assessment Accomplishment Report
This document provides an overview of the state resource assessment accomplishments from 2012-2015. 

NRCS Tribal Resource Assessment
This document provides an overview of the natural resource concerns on tribal lands, as identified through the tribal local work group process.

NRCS Tribal Resource Assessment Accomplishment Report
This document provides an overview of the tribal resource assessment accomplishments from 2012-2015.