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Maine Bulletin No. ME 340-11-1


                                                                                                               September 19, 2011

Subject: SPA � Oversight and Evaluation Review Checklist

Purpose. To provide reminders on adhering to NRCS policy relative to use of Conservation Assistance Notes and needed documentation for practice implementation and check out.

Expiration Date. September 16, 2012

Background. In May 2011, the NRCS National Oversight and Evaluation (O&E) staff conducted a Program Delivery Review in Maine. The Review Checklist included items relative to Conservation Assistance Notes and practice installation and check out documentations. The findings of the review warranted a reminder bulletin relative to documentation needs.

Explanation. This bulletin outlines current NRCS policies and procedures relative to the Checklist questions used by the O&E Reviewers.

Oversight and Evaluation Checklist Question #13: "Conservation Assistance Notes relative to significant activities and participant decisions."

Developing and maintaining Conservation Assistance Notes is a critical component of our case files. These notes should be descriptive enough to assist the Conservation Planner review what occurred on previous visits, as well as to assist others involved with that producer to be clear about what has occurred. To the extent possible, they should be written the day of the exchange with the producer or when the service occurred on the farm. Your notes should be capturing important findings, decisions, and discussions. They should provide descriptions of why you chose one course of action over another. Notes should be recorded during the planning, installation and check out phases of work.

Oversight and Evaluation Checklist Question #14: "When needed, Conservation Practice Designs, Drawings and Specifications are in the Contract Folder or Conservation Plan Folder".

Prior to implementation of practices, producers should be in receipt of a Job Sheet or design outlining expectations. The producer should have a clear picture of requirements before they start so that there are no surprises or disappointments in the process.

Oversight and Evaluation Checklist Question #15: "Completed practice Check Out Notes and other supporting data in the case file for each payment application".

General Manual - Title 450 - Part 407.10-12, outlines Documentation and Certification requirements. District Conservationists shall review this section with their staffs. Supporting data for a conservation practice includes: a Record of Planning, Design, Installation, Checking and Operations and Management.

The completed work is to be checked against the Plans, Job Sheets, or Designs. Each practice outlines documentation requirements. Location identification and design date is required for all practices for most engineering practices. The data should be sufficient to show that the installation meets Standards and Specifications.

Check notes or observation become part of the supporting data. The Checker is to record, date, sign the notes, and include a statement that the practice does or does not meet the requirements. The Checker will list the deficiencies if the practices do not meet the requirements.

Contact. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this bulletin, please contact Pauline Pare, ASTC for Operations by calling (207) 990-9554 or email

/s/  Juan C. Hernandez

State Conservationist