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Conservation Activity Plans

What is a Conservation Activity Plan?

A Conservation Activity Plan or CAP Plan can be developed for producers to identify conservation practices needed to address a specific resource concern need. With a CAP plan, producers can then apply for financial assistance to implement the needed conservation practices.

A CAP plan can be specific to certain kinds of land use such as: cropland transitioning to organic, grazing lands, or non-industrial private forestland. A CAP Plan can also address a specific resource need, such excess nutrients in surface or groundwater, or weeds that are resistant to herbicides.

NRCS encourages private individuals and businesses with conservation expertise to provide technical assistance on behalf of NRCS.  These private individuals and businesses demonstrate their technical expertise to NRCS and are registered as approved NRCS Technical Service Providers (TSP). A TSP can work with producers to develop a site-specific CAP Plan on how to address the identified resource concern.

“Planning” CAP – These are conservation plans developed by the TSP that require an assessment of resource concerns and development of alternatives, including at a minimum a “no action” alternative, and an alternative consisting of a conservation system that reflect the decisions of the producer and the effects of those decisions.

“Practice” CAP – For these types of CAP Plans, NRCS develops a basic conservation plan with an assessment of the resource concerns and a record of the producer’s decisions reflecting the conservation system to be applied prior to contracting.

How Do I Find A Technical Service Provider?

Information about CAP services from Technical Service Providers, including how to find a certified TSP in your State, the requirements to become a certified Technical Service Provider, can be found on the NRCS national TSP website.

Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) Ranking Pools

There are five EQIP CAP ranking pools in California (listed below). A minimum of one resource concern must  be identified to be addressed for the farming or ranching operation.

  • AFO-CAFO Pool
  • Fish and Wildlife Habitat Pool
  • Forest Health Pool
  • Grazing Lands Pool
  • Soil Health and Water Conservation Pool

Generally, no more than on CAP is permitted on one land unit at the same time. However, more than one “Practice” CAP may be planned on a given land unit at one time as long as no duplication of payments occurs for services for each CAP.  

Duplicative payments are not allowed for the same planning services (i.e., contracts with both 100-series and 900-series payments for the same planning services on the same land).

Conservation Activity Plans

Practice Code
Conservation Activity Plan
General Description
Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan
A comprehensive nutrient management plan (CNMP) is a conservation plan for an animal feeding operation (AFO) that documents how nutrients and contaminants will be managed in the production and land treatment areas of the farm to protect animal and human health and the environment.
Nutrient Management Plan
A nutrient management plan (NMP) is a document of record of how nutrients will be managed for plant production, and to address the environmental concerns related to the offsite movement of nutrients from agricultural fields.
Forest Management Plan
A forest management plan (FMP) is a site-specific plan developed for a client that addresses one or more resource concerns on land where forestry-related conservation activities or practices will be planned and applied.
Feed Management Plan
A feed management plan is a farm-specific documented plan developed for a client who addresses manipulation and control of the quantity and quality of available nutrients, feedstuffs, and/or additives fed to livestock and poultry.
Grazing Management Plan
A grazing management plan is a site-specific plan developed with a client to address one or more resource concerns on land where grazing-related activities or practices will be applied.
Prescribed Burning Plan
A prescribed burning plan is a site-specific plan developed with a client that addresses one or more resource concerns on land through the use of fire.
Integrated Pest Management
An integrated pest management (IPM) plan is an ecosystem-based strategy to mitigate the risks associated with pest management activities in a sustainable approach to manage pests using a combination of techniques, such as chemical tools, biological control, habitat manipulation, and modification of cultural practices and use of resistant varieties.
Soil Health Management Plan
A soil health management plan is a farm-specific documented plan developed for a client that identifies soil health resource concerns, problems and opportunities and plans a group of practices that follow the 4 principles of soil health.
Irrigation Water Management Plan
An irrigation water management (IWM) plan is a site-specific plan developed to control the volume, frequency, and rate of water for efficient irrigation.  Measurements of soil moisture, plant water use, and climate provide feedback to decide when to irrigate, and how much water to apply.
Agriculture Energy Management Plan
An agricultural energy management plan (AgEMP) is a detailed documentation and inventory of the energy consuming activities and components of the current agricultural operation.  The plan will document a typical prior year of on-farm energy consumption, and the strategy the producer will use to explore and prioritize their on- farm energy conservation concerns, objectives, and opportunities.
Drainage Water Management Plan
A drainage water management (DWM) plan is a site-specific plan developed to control soil water table elevations and the timing of water discharges from subsurface or surface agricultural drainage systems, allowing the opportunity for crop use of the subsurface water and nutrients.
Agricultural Energy Design Plan
An agricultural energy design plan (AgEDP) is a site-specific plan that uses recommendations from an NRCS approved assessment or tool used to evaluate energy conservation and includes development of design packages of NRCS conservation practices.
Conservation Plan Supporting Organic Transition
A “Conservation Plan Supporting Organic Transition” is a resource inventory with recommended practices to address the resource concerns that will assist the producer to develop an organic systems plan. The resource inventory and recommended practices will also serve to assist NRCS or a qualified TSP develop a conservation plan with the producer, if requested.
Fish and Wildlife Habitat Plan
A fish and wildlife habitat plan is a site-specific plan developed with a client who is ready to plan and implement conservation activities or practices with consideration for fish and wildlife habitat.
Pollinator Habitat Plan
A pollinator habitat enhancement plan is a site-specific conservation plan developed for a client that addresses the improvement, restoration, enhancement, expansion of flower-rich habitat that supports native and/or managed pollinators.
IPM Herbicide Resistant Weed Conservation Plan
An integrated pest management (IMP) herbicide resistance weed conservation plan is a plan with emphasis on modifying herbicide use for suppressing weeds on cropland.

1CAP 138 is eligible for financial assistance through the National Organic Initiative only; it is listed here for reference.