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Learn about EQIP Conservation Planning Activities (CPAs), Design and Implementation Activities (DIAs), and Conservation Evaluation and Monitoring Activities (CEMAs).

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What are CPAs, DIAs, and CEMAs?

CPAs, DIAs, and CEMAs are EQIP financial assistance opportunities for participants to hire Technical Service Providers (TSP) or Qualified Individuals (QI) to provide conservation planning, practices designs or implementation instructions, and monitoring or evaluation of conservation measures applied to the land.

TSP and QI include individuals, private businesses, American Indian tribes, nonprofit organizations, and public agencies. TSPs expand the number and availability of conservation technical experts capable of offering customized, one-on-one conservation advice to agricultural producers.

NRCS established these three categories of activities to align the TSP/QI assistance with phases of the NRCS conservation planning process.

Conservation Planning Activities (CPAs)

CPAs produce conservation plans that document participant objectives, existing resource concerns, and participant decisions regarding conservation practices and activities that will be used to address identified resource concerns. CPAs are:

  • Provided by a Technical Service Provider (TSP) with appropriate certification in NRCS Registry. 
  • Consistent with steps 1-7 of the NRCS conservation planning process.

Design and Implementation Activities (DIAs)

DIAs produce designs, prescriptions, or other instructions for implementing a single conservation practice, or a system of conservation practices derived from the participant’s conservation plan.

  • DIAs are provided by Technical Service Providers (TSP) with appropriate certification in NRCS Registry. 
  • DIAs are consistent with Step 8 of the NRCS conservation planning process.
  • DIA scope does not include assistance for conservation practice installation, review, and checkout.

Conservation Evaluation and Monitoring Activities (CEMAs)

CEMAs produce results of an evaluation, monitoring, test, or assessment.

  • CEMA are provided by Qualified Individuals (QIs). QIs self-certify they meet qualification criteria stated in a CEMA document. Professional licenses, accreditations, certifications, and experience typify qualification criteria for CEMA QIs. A QI may, or may not also hold TSP certification.
  • CEMAs inform the participant and conservation planner about natural resource conditions on the area evaluated. 
  • CEMA results can support adaptive management strategies, lead to new and revised conservation plans; and support development of new or revised site-specific conservation practice installation instructions. 
  • CEMAs are consistent with Step 9 of the NRCS conservation planning process, but may be used at any point in the iterative steps of conservation planning.

Program Guidance

NRCS program policy and guidance to support implementation of the CPAs, DIAs, and CEMAs Conservation Activities through the EQIP program is available at NRCS eDirectives – National Instruction 440-320.

Fiscal Year 2024 Conservation Activities

Previous FY EQIP Conservation Activities Resources