Skip Navigation

Conservation Planning

What Is Conservation Planning?

Conservation planning is a voluntary natural resource problem solving and management process. The NRCS objective in conservation planning is to help the client achieve sound use and management of soil, water, air, plant, and animal resources to prevent their degradation, assure their sustained use and productivity, and comply with regulatory requirements while considering economic and social needs.

What Is an RMS Conservation Plan?

The Resource Management System (RMS) Conservation Plan is voluntary, site-specific, comprehensive, and action oriented. It does not legally obligate the client to a binding agreement. The RMS planning process provides the framework for developing a conservation plan. Planning to a Resource Management System (RMS) level is necessary to provide a minimum level of resource protection and to insure sustainability of the resource base. It contains natural resource information, a record of decisions made by the landowner, describes the schedule of operations and activities needed to solve identified natural resource problems.

The planning process is flexible when a landowner is ready, willing, and able to make and implement some, but not all, of the decisions necessary to achieve an RMS level of management. The rate of progress in implementing an RMS depends on the client’s objectives and ability to make and implement conservation decisions, based on resource, economic, social, and public policy considerations. Implementation of the plan involves technical and financial assistance from cooperative source of conservation partners.

How Is the Planning Process Initiated?

The process normally begins in one of two ways: The landowner may contact the local conservation district or NRCS to seek assistance; or the local conservation district or NRCS personnel may contact a landowner to offer assistance.

How Does an RMS Plan Differ From a Conservation Program Contract?

An RMS plan is voluntary and not legally binding – it’s a “course of action”, the foundation for a complete conservation plan. A conservation program contract is the formal agreement that legally binds all parties involved to specific responsibilities and obligations. Once a landowner has signed the contact, they are legally obligated to meet the specified requirements for the duration of the contract period.

A landowner’s involvement in the development and implementation of a conservation plan is voluntary, and the technical assistance required can be obtained without charge from NRCS. For more information about the NRCS and conservation planning please contact one our field offices today. For more information about our programs authorized under the Farm Bill, please visit our programs page by following the link below.

Louisiana NRCS Programs


What Is Included in a Conservation Plan Document?

The plan document contains meaningful and useful information for the client. It includes the following items in a folder or binder:

  1. A conservation district cooperator agreement
  2. A soil map with appropriate interpretations
  3. Appropriate worksheets developed with the client
  4. Appropriate available job sheets and other prepared material
  5. Operation and maintenance agreements and procedures
  6. A conservation plan map
  7. A record of clients’ decisions
  8. Available maps, sketches, and designs resulting from the planning process that will be useful to the client in implementing the plan
  9. Information reflecting site-specific effects and impacts based on on-site visits