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Conservation Compliance

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Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation Provisions

The Food Security Act’s wetland conservation provisions were enacted to assist in protecting the values, acreage, and functions of the Nation's wetlands. To participate in most United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs, agricultural producers agree to comply with the wetland conservation provisions, which means producers will not farm converted wetlands or convert wetlands to enable or enhance agricultural production.

On December 23, 1985 Congress enacted the Food Security Act which linked United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) program eligibility to certain conditions.  These conditions, known as the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions, were enacted to:

  • Reduce soil loss due to wind and water erosion;
  • Protect the Nation's long-term capability to produce food and fiber;
  • Reduce sedimentation and improve water quality; and
  • Assist in preserving the values, acreage, and functions of the Nation's wetlands.

In order to maintain eligibility for most USDA programs, producers must comply with the Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) provisions, agreeing they will not:

  • Produce an agricultural commodity on highly erodible land without an adequate conservation system;
  • Plant an agricultural commodity on a converted wetland;
  • Convert a wetland to make possible the production of an agricultural commodity.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is responsible for providing program participants technical assistance and determinations to assist them in complying with the provisions.

HELC Provision Contact

Name: Tony Rolfes
Title: State Soil Scientist
Phone: (530) 792-5656
Email: Tony.Rolfes@usda.gov

WC Provision Contact

Name: Jennifer Cavanaugh
Title: State Environmental Compliance Lead
Phone: (530) 792-5632
Email: Jennifer.Cavanaugh@usda.gov

How do you find out if a certified wetland or highly erodible lands determination already exists on your land?

You may contact your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) to obtain the most current determination(s) if one already exists.

How do you request a certified wetland or highly erodible lands determination for planned modifications to current agricultural operations, including land clearing, sodbusting and field boundary changes?

To initiate the process, visit your local FSA office to complete or update Form AD-1026 “Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Certification” for the area you wish assessed.

HELC/WC Technical Resources

Given the geographical differences of wetlands, soils, and climate in each State; information and technical resources specific to California implementation of the HELC/WC provisions are provided below:

California

Other California Resources

 

Take me back to: National NRCS Conservation Provisions Webpage

 

 

Updated: 09/04/2020