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California Conservation Planning Initiative

Conservation Planning

Landowners can benefit from NRCS conservation planning in several ways. Receiving professional technical assistance will increase confidence in the design, implementation, and monitoring of a plan that will perform for landowners and their land. The productivity of agricultural land often increases when conservation practices are correctly applied and managed to conserve soil, increase rangeland health, conserve water and improve water quality, and manage livestock waste.

Conservation Planning On Your Land (CPOYL) Workbooks

A set of Conservation Planning Workbooks have been updated and refined into a general introductory workbook, and four land use specific workbooks for: Crop, Dairy/AFO/CAFO, Forestry, and Range/Pasture. These workbooks are meant to spark conversation and help Planners and Producers collect the information needed to complete a conservation plan. 

These documents will be posted as fillable .pdfs to the California NRCS website This link is also provided on the Conservation Planning SharePoint and in the eFOTG-Section III. Land owners or operators can also start planning on their own by filling out this workbook before contacting a field office. The fillable, no background files are the most printer friendly.

Conservation plans can be developed to improve habitat for fisheries, upland game birds, and other wildlife. Healthy and productive lands also have less tangible benefits such as open space and scenic views. Ultimately, everyone who eats food or drinks water benefits from your conservation efforts. Another benefit to landowners who work with NRCS professionals is an increased potential for participating in financial assistance programs.

Most of NRCS’ clients are individual land owners or managers. Technical assistance, including conservation planning, is provided free of charge and at the invitation of the client.  The conservation planning process with NRCS is voluntary, it is confidential, and the plan belongs to the client. Clients implement elements of their plans, potentially with further NRCS assistance, at their own pace and in accordance with their own decisions. 

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides professional conservation planning and other technical assistance to clients. Some examples of professionals available through NRCS include agronomists, soil scientists, range conservationists, foresters, wildlife management specialists, and engineers. The NRCS maintains a network of field offices to provide direct assistance, in accordance with local needs and priorities. The District Conservationist (office manager) at the field office in your county can be located or contacted using this weblink: “find your nearest service center.”

Thousands of California’s farmers, ranchers and forest owners develop conservation plans with NRCS every year. You can hear from a couple of them by following the link below:

Watch NRCS Videos on YouTube
Or by reading these stories of conservation planning success in California: Success Stories


The following documents require Acrobat Reader offsite link image    .

General Overview of Conservation Planning

 Financial Assistance

Landscape Level Planning and Financial Assistance

Specific Resource Concerns

Additional Resources


Updated: 07/19/2021