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Conservation Planning and Regulatory Compliance

NRCS and USDA policies require that conservation planning assistance be provided by adequately trained and well qualified employees.

As you know from your conservation planning guiding principles, knowledge is incomplete; change is constant; and the planning process is dynamic. As science discovers new understandings and governments change their regulations, conservation planners use this new information to help decision makers adapt it to their situation.

Over the winter of 2011, NRCS State Office support staff members have worked with Area and Field Office conservationists and experts at the State Conservation Commission, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Penn State University, Conservation Districts, and many other partnering organizations to develop guidance relevant to recent changes in erosion and sediment control requirements.

Navigating the many laws and regulations of each of the layers of government is time consuming and confusing. As conservationists, it is our duty to make sure the assistance we provide addresses the requirements of all relevant laws and regulations. NRCS is proud to announce the release of the "Conservation Planning and Regulatory Compliance Handbook". The book has been organized into typical planning and land use topic areas to assist you in making sense of the State’s new regulation changes. Blank tabs have been provided in the handbook for your convenience to insert materials you may have already collected and frequently use. When support staff members develop guidance for other planning and regulatory topics, new tabs will be provided to add to the handbook.

While official policies and guidance are maintained in the online directives and field office technical guide (FOTG) systems, this handbook is intended to help you find quick reference to the items you most frequently use. To DOWNLOAD or PRINT a copy of the Conservation Planning and Regulatory Compliance Handbook, select the "ENTIRE HANDBOOK" link.


To DOWNLOAD or PRINT out a specific section of the handbook, select the Handbook Sections link.


A presentation of the handbook to NRCS field employees and partners was delivered on August 10th, 2011. A key message in the presentation is NRCS can only enforce compliance with regulations as authorized by the US Congress and that it has NO authority to enforce compliance with a State Regulation. Conservation planning assistance helps farmers understand the requirements of regulations and provides them with a road map to follow when they are ready willing and able to get there.

The talking points and the handout slides from the power point presentation can be downloaded here. Take a look to better understand how to use the Conservation Planning and Regulatory Handbook.



For technical questions about planning guidance relevant to regulatory compliance contact Noel Soto.


Noel Soto
Soil Conservationist
(717) 237-2173