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Landscape Initiatives

landscape-cons-initiatives-bannerLandscape initiatives enable NRCS to more effectively address priority natural resource concerns by delivering systems of practices, primarily to the most vulnerable lands within geographic focus areas.

Through these initiatives, NRCS seeks to accomplish: 


  • Conservation beyond boundaries—Landscape-scale natural resource concerns, such as species conservation and water quality, cannot be treated effectively based on geo-political boundaries.  NRCS recognizes that natural resource concerns transcend farm, county, and state boundaries.
  • A science-based approach—Findings from the multi-agency Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) indicate the most effective way to increase protection of natural resources is to target conservation to the most vulnerable or valuable areas and to apply a systems rather than a practice-by-practice approach. 
  • Build on existing locally-led efforts and partnerships—NRCS seeks to maximize the success of initiatives by leveraging partner interest and resources through programmatic and other tools.
  • Regulatory certainty for agricultural producers—Where applicable, NRCS is working with regulators so agricultural producers can have certainty that the voluntary conservation systems they implement are consistent with current and potential regulation, as well as sustained agricultural production.

Current Initiatives

Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed InitiativeImproving water quality, restoring wetlands, and enhancing wildlife habitat and agricultural profitability in priority small watersheds of the Mississippi River in the 13 states, including Wisconsin.

Great Lakes Restoration InitiativeRestoring and protecting watersheds in eight states surrounding the Great Lakes that provide drinking water for over 40 million Americans and drive a $62 billion annual economy of fishing, boating and recreational activities.

National Water Quality Initiative—NRCS works with farmers and ranchers in 165 small watersheds throughout the Nation to improve water quality where this is a critical concern.

Working Lands for Wildlife Initiative: Targeting Monarch Butterflies in WisconsinNRCS works with agricultural producers in the Midwest and the southern Great Plains to combat the decline of monarch butterflies by planting milkweed and other nectar-rich plants on private lands. This region is the core of the monarch’s migration route and breeding habitat.

Past Initiatives

Driftless Area Landscape Conservation InitiativeImplementing practices that reduce erosion and improve fish wildlife habitat in the Driftless Area.

Lake Superior Landscape Restoration Partnership—Improve health and resiliency of forests on public and private lands to protect water quality and improve habitat for at-risk species.