USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) is a organization within the USDA which aims to maintain a sustainable, nutritious, abundant food supply, while also promoting thriving ecosystems that support a diversity of life. The NRCS provides landowners with programs that tackle a wide range of conservation goals, from wetland protection to on-farm energy conservation. On April 27, 1935 Congress passed Public Law 74-46, in which it recognized that "the wastage of soil and moisture resources on farm, grazing, and forest lands . . . is a menace to the national welfare" and established the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) as a permanent agency in the USDA. In 1994, SCS’s name was changed to the Natural Resources Conservation Service to better reflect the broadened scope of the agency’s concerns. In doing so, Congress reaffirmed the federal commitment to the conservation of the nation's soil and water resources, first made 75 years ago, that continues to this day.
The California NRCS is divided into four areas.
- Area 1 Office: Red Bluff, CA
- Area 1 covers the northern part of California, bordering on Oregon in the North and with Areas 2 and 3 in the south. It serves three Congressional Districts with 12 Service Centers, four Local Partnership Offices, four RRC&D Offices, and two Soil Survey Offices. These offices partner with 27 Resource Conservation Districts and others to meet the conservation needs of 17 counties.
- Area 2 Offic: Salinas, CA
- Area 2 extends along the coast from the counties on the north side of San Francisco down to Santa Barbara and inland to Stockton and Modesto, covering 15 counties. It serves 17 Congressional Districts using ten Service Centers, five Local Partnership Offices, and two Soil Survey Offices. These offices partner with 25 Resource Conservation Districts.
- Area 3 Office: Fresno, CA
- Area 3 extends from South Lake Tahoe through the Central Valley to Bakersfield. It serves ten Congressional Districts using 11 Service Centers, two Local Partnership Offices, three Resource Conservation and Development offices and two Soil Survey Offices. These offices partner with six Resource Conservation Districts to meet the conservation needs of 12 counties.
- Area 4 Office: Riverside, CA
- Area 4 is the home of five of the top twenty agricultural counties in the United States, with a diverse terrain, climate, animals and plant life. The area dawns valleys below sea level and peaks over 14,000 feet high. Precipitation ranges from less than 2 inches in some desert areas to 60 inches on the high slopes of Mt. San Antonio. Area 4 has desert vegetation, grasslands, brushland, hardwood and coniferous forests. The area serves 34 Congressional Districts.
The CA NRCS offers conservation programs that provide incentives for farmers and landowners to implement various best management practices. Programs are often used to promote voluntary compliance with water quality regulations such as TMDLs or the California Ag Waiver. The NRCS also provides technical resources that help landowners to reach conservation goals.
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