Natural Resources Conservation Service

Mission Statement

The mission of the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) is to provide national leadership in the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources. The NRCS provides balanced technical assistance and cooperative conservation programs to landowners and land managers throughout the United States as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Major Roles and Responsibilities in Wetlands Management

The NRCS makes wetlands determinations and delineations in agricultural areas under section 404 of the Clean Water Act for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and for Farm Bill purposes (see below) but does not issue permits pertaining to wetlands. However, the NRCS has long provided technical assistance to those involved in land conservation and planning and wetlands restoration and enhancement. The agency has also assisted in wetlands restoration and enhancement through programs such as, the Water Bank Program, the Wetland Reserve Program, the Agricultural Conservation Program, the Conservation Reserve Program, the Resource Conservation and Development Program (RC&D), and the Small Watersheds Program (PL-566). As part of the NRCS's Wetlands Protection Policy, landowners have the option of mitigating wetland impacts in order to continue receiving NRCS assistance. Also, in programs such as RC&D and PL-566 mitigation has been an option.

Legal Mandates

In 1979 Executive Order 11990 established the NRCS's Wetlands Protection Policy (WPP). WPP and the National Environmental Policy Act regulate all the NRCS's activities. The Farm Bills of 1985 and 1990 established "Swampbuster." Under this program a landowner or manager could lose USDA benefits or eligibility to participate in USDA programs if they convert a wetland to agricultural production.

For more information on the USDA, NRCS contact:

Christine Pytel, Regional Conservationist, (202)726-3770,

Mailing address:
NRCS West Regional Office
430 G Street. Suite 4165
Davis, CA 95616

There is a NRCS field office in almost every county where general information can be obtained. However, if there is no field office in your county there are also area offices in Red Bluff, Salinas, and Fresno.



This file last modified on: Thursday, January 24, 2002.
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