Natural Resources Conservation Service September 2018 – Federal Register Recent Federal Regulation Documents

Notice of Availability of the Alabama Trustee Implementation Group Final Restoration Plan II and Environmental Assessment: Restoration of Wetlands, Coastal, and Nearshore Habitats; Habitat Projects on Federally Managed Lands; Nutrient Reduction (Nonpoint Source); Sea Turtles; Marine Mammals; Birds; and Oysters and Finding of No Significant Impact
Document Number: 2018-20168
Type: Notice
Date: 2018-09-18
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service
In accordance with the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Deepwater Horizon Federal and State natural resource trustee agencies for the Alabama Trustee Implementation Group (AL TIG) have prepared a Final Restoration Plan II and Environmental Assessment (Final RP II/EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). The Final RP II/EA describes the restoration project alternatives considered by the AL TIG to meet the Trustees' goals to restore and conserve habitat, replenish and protect living coastal and marine resources, restore water quality, and provide for monitoring and adaptive management. The AL TIG evaluated these alternatives under criteria set forth in the OPA natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) regulations and evaluated the environmental consequences of the restoration alternatives in accordance with NEPA. Monitoring and adaptive management activities to address information gaps necessary to inform future restoration are included in this Final RP II/EA. The purpose of this notice is to inform the public of the availability of the Final RP II/EA and FONSI.
Notice of Recommended Standard Methods for Use as Soil Health Indicator Measurements
Document Number: 2018-19985
Type: Notice
Date: 2018-09-14
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service
Notice is hereby given of the intention of NRCS to issue a technical note on a group of recommended standard methods for soil health indicators selected by a collaborative multi-organizational effort, as described in the document. USDA/NRCS and partner efforts to assess soil health problems and impacts of management nationally, as part of conservation planning and implementation, will be facilitated if soil health indicators are measured using a standard set of methods. Soil health is defined as the capacity of the soil to function as a vital living ecosystem to sustain plants, animals, and humans. Six key soil physical and biological processes were identified that must function well in a healthy soil, and therefore would especially benefit from measurement methods standardization: (1) Organic matter dynamics and carbon sequestration, (2) soil structural stability, (3) general microbial activity, (4) C food source, (5) bioavailable N, and (6) microbial community diversity. The chosen methods met several criteria including indicator effectiveness with respect to management sensitivity and process interpretability, ease of use, cost effectiveness, measurement repeatability, and ability to be used for agricultural management decisions. The soil health indicator methods included are soil organic carbon (dry combustion), water-stable aggregation (Mikha and Rice, 2004), short-term mineralizable carbon (Schindelbeck et al., 2016), four enzymes: [beta]-glucosidase (Deng and Popova, 2011), N-acetyl-[beta]-D-glucosaminidase (Deng and Popova, 2011), acid or alkaline phosphatase (Acosta-Mart[iacute]nez and Tabatabai, 2011), and arylsulfatase (Klose et al., 2011), permanganate oxidizable carbon (Schindelbeck et al. 2016), autoclaved citrate extractable (ACE) protein (Schindelbeck et al. 2016), and phospholipid fatty acid analysis (Buyer and Sasser 2012). Standard operating procedures to be used in laboratories have been provided in the appendices.
Notice of Proposed Changes to the National Handbook of Conservation Practices for the Natural Resources Conservation Service
Document Number: 2018-19145
Type: Notice
Date: 2018-09-05
Agency: Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service
Notice is hereby given of the intention of NRCS to issue a series of revised conservation practice standards in the NHCP. These standards include Combustion System Improvement (Code 372), Dust Control on Unpaved Roads and Surfaces (Code 373), Integrated Pest management (Code 595), Nutrient Management (Code 590), Pesticide Mitigation (Code 594), Subsurface Drain (Code 606), Waste Facility Closure (Code 360), and Wildlife Habitat Planting (Code 420). NRCS State Conservationists who choose to adopt these practices in 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.
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