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Mercer Lake, Mercer County ParkUSDA Natural Resources Conservation Service provides technical assistance to groups, local, county and state units of government, watershed associations and others in the development and implementation of watershed plans with a variety of objectives. A multidisciplinary approach utilizes the expertise of various technical specialists including engineers, soil scientists, wildlife biologists, geologists, economists, landscape architects, plant materials specialists, and GIS specialists among others. NRCS uses a locally-led approach in which all project planning and implementation is driven by the local sponsors and other stakeholders. Local sponsors are those entities which are willing to provide the funds for plan development and/or plan implementation (these local costs may represent up to 100 percent of project cost), obtain any necessary land rights and to perform any operation and maintenance required during the life of a project. Project objectives may include one or more of the following: flood damage reduction, water-based recreation development, water quality improvement, wildlife improvement, groundwater recharge, and agricultural enhancement. Project planning involves several steps, including problem definition; inventory, forecast and analysis: formulate, evaluation and comparison of alternatives; and, with the help of the locally-led sponsors, choosing an alternative for implementation. PL83-566 - Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act Program establishes the role of NRCS in watershed planning, operations and rehabilitation.

NRCS and the Watershed Approach

Oxford Lake Recreation Area"Every one of us lives in a watershed." You may have heard this, but are wondering - what exactly is a watershed? Think about an area that collects rainfall and snow. The rain and snow run across the slope of the land or sink into the soil; this collected water eventually finds its way into a small creek, which joins with other creeks to become a river. The land and water bodies that share this same flow endpoint comprise a watershed. The people, plants, animals and wildlife, soil, water and air within a watershed are all connected in a delicate balance. The decisions each of us makes about use of these resources within our watershed affect its overall health.

NRCS, like many natural resources agencies, plans and carries out its work on a watershed basis. NRCS works through a locally led process which may involve Soil Conservation Districts, watershed associations, environmental commissions, and local and county planning boards and others to develop and implement watershed management plans.

Contact: David Lamm, State Conservation Engineer, 732-537-6071


Last Update March 5, 2013