Notice of Proposed Changes to the National Handbook of Conservation Practices for the Natural Resources Conservation Service
Notice is hereby given of the intention of NRCS to issue a series of revised conservation practice standards in the National Handbook of Conservation Practices. These standards include: Conservation Cover (Code 327), Conservation Crop Rotation (Code 328), Contour Buffers (Code 332), Cover Crop (Code 340), Cross Wind Trap Strips (Code 589c), Grassed Waterway (Code 412), Groundwater Testing (Code 355), Heavy Use Area Protection (Code 561), Irrigation System, Tailwater Recovery (Code 447), Irrigation Water Management (Code 449), Monitoring Well (Code 353), On-Farm Secondary Containment Facility (Code 319), Roof Runoff Structure (Code 558), Surface Roughening (Code 609), Tree/Shrub Pruning (Code 660), Waste Transfer (Code 634), Water Well Decommissioning (Code 351) and Wildlife Structure (Code 649). NRCS State Conservationists who choose to adopt these practices for use within their States will incorporate them into section IV of their respective electronic Field Office Technical Guide. These practices may be used in conservation systems that treat highly erodible land (HEL) or on land determined to be a wetland. Section 343 of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 requires NRCS to make available for public review and comment all proposed revisions to conservation practice standards used to carry out HEL and wetland provisions of the law.
Notice of Availability of the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Upper Kanab Creek Watershed Vegetation Management Project
This notice announces the availability of NRCS's adoption, under provisions provided for in 40 CFR 1506.3, of an Environmental Assessment (EA) prepared by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for the Upper Kanab Creek Watershed Vegetation Management Project, dated April 2012.
Changes to Existing Conservation Program Regulations
The Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Act) made several, nondiscretionary changes to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) conservation programs. These conservation programs have existing regulations that require adjustments, including addressing the required review of operating procedures of the State Technical Committee, adding reference of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) to the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act program regulations, adding reference of the RCPP to, and expanding the definition of, ``acreage owned by Indian Tribes'' under the Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP), revising and simplifying the Regional Equity provision, and adjusting the Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) program to correspond with changes to payment provisions under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Additionally, the Secretary of Agriculture has delegated to NRCS administrative responsibility for implementation of the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP) and internal NRCS administrative changes warrant updating the appropriate delegated official in the technical service provider (TSP) provision. This interim rule, with request for comments, implements changes to these NRCS conservation program regulations that are either necessitated by enactment of the 2014 Act or are required to implement administrative streamlining improvements and clarifications.