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National Assessments

The National Assessment component of the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) will provide scientifically credible estimates of the environmental effects obtained from USDA conservation programs. The National Assessment component has two goals:

  • Provide quantitative estimates of the effects of conservation practices for national and regional reporting.
  • Assess the potential for existing conservation programs and future alternatives to better address the Nation's environmental and conservation goals.

Currently, there are four active components within the National Assessment:

All CEAP National Assessments follow a similar process for producing regional and national-level estimates of conservation effects. A taskforce of recognized experts is convened to determine how to credibly address the scientific challenge of estimating conservation effects and, where possible, enable analyses of "what if" questions about conservation options. This taskforce evaluates existing databases and models and defines the analytical approach as well as data needs. A detailed plan of work is written specifying the various tasks, who will complete them and when. Implementing the plan has three basic steps: 1) data collection and compilation, 2) development and application of models or estimation procedures, and 3) reporting results.

More information on the specific approaches utilized by each CEAP National Assessment component are reviewed in "The first five years of the Conservation Effects Assessment Project," (Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 63:6, pp. 185A-197A. November 2008 (PDF; 1.9 MB)) and in project work plans (CEAP Wildlife).