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					                                             National Environmental Compliance Handbook




U.S. Department of Agriculture                         NRCS-CPA-52
                                                                        A. Client Name:
Natural Resources Conservation Service                        6/2010

                                                                        B. Conservation Plan ID # (as applicable):
  ENVIRONMENTAL EVALUATION WORKSHEET                                          Program Authority (optional):
D. Client's Objective(s) (purpose):                                     C. Identification # (farm, tract, field #, etc as required):




E. Need for Action:               G. Alternatives
                                        No Action    √ if RMS              Alternative 1        √ if RMS             Alternative 2     √ if RMS




                                                         Resource Concerns
In Section "F" below, analyze, record, and address concerns identified through the Resources Inventory process.
(See FOTG Section III - Resource Quality Criteria for guidance).
F. Resource Concerns           H. Effects of Alternatives
and Existing / Benchmark                  No Action                                 Alternative 1                           Alternative 2
Conditions
                                                                 √ if                                       √ if                                   √ if
(Analyze and record the                                         does                                       does                                   does
existing/benchmark              Amount, Status, Description              Amount, Status, Description               Amount, Status, Description
                                                                NOT                                        NOT                                    NOT
conditions for each identified    (short and long term)         meet       (short and long term)           meet      (short and long term)        meet
                                                                 QC                                         QC                                     QC
concern)
SOIL
Erosion (Sheet and Rill)
                                                                NOT                                        NOT                                    NOT
                                                                meet                                       meet                                   meet


                                                                QC                                         QC                                     QC

Erosion (Ephemeral Gully)
                                                                NOT                                        NOT                                    NOT
                                                                meet                                       meet                                   meet


                                                                QC                                         QC                                     QC

Erosion (Streambank)
                                                                NOT                                        NOT                                    NOT
                                                                meet                                       meet                                   meet


                                                                QC                                         QC                                     QC

Condition (Organic Matter)
                                                                NOT                                        NOT                                    NOT
                                                                meet                                       meet                                   meet


                                                                QC                                         QC                                     QC

Condition (Compaction)
                                                                NOT                                        NOT                                    NOT
                                                                meet                                       meet                                   meet


                                                                QC                                         QC                                     QC

Other
                                                                NOT                                        NOT                                    NOT
                                                                meet                                       meet                                   meet


                                                                QC                                         QC                                     QC




                                                190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                                           National Environmental Compliance Handbook




F. Resource Concerns           H. Effects of Alternatives
and Existing / Benchmark                  No Action                            Alternative 1                         Alternative 2
Conditions
                                                               √ if                                  √ if                                  √ if
(Analyze and record the                                       does                                  does                                  does
existing/benchmark              Amount, Status, Description           Amount, Status, Description           Amount, Status, Description
                                                              NOT                                   NOT                                   NOT
conditions for each identified    (short and long term)       meet      (short and long term)       meet      (short and long term)       meet
                                                               QC                                    QC                                    QC
concern)
WATER
Quantity (Excessive Subsurface
Water)                                                        NOT                                   NOT                                   NOT
                                                              meet                                  meet                                  meet


                                                              QC                                    QC                                    QC

Quantity (Excessive Seepage)
                                                              NOT                                   NOT                                   NOT
                                                              meet                                  meet                                  meet


                                                              QC                                    QC                                    QC

Quantity (Excessive Runoff, Flooding,
or Ponding)                                                   NOT                                   NOT                                   NOT
                                                              meet                                  meet                                  meet


                                                              QC                                    QC                                    QC

Quality (Surface Water: Harmful
Levels of Pesticides)                                         NOT                                   NOT                                   NOT
                                                              meet                                  meet                                  meet


                                                              QC                                    QC                                    QC

Quality (Groundwater: Harmful Levels
of Pesticides)                                                NOT                                   NOT                                   NOT
                                                              meet                                  meet                                  meet


                                                              QC                                    QC                                    QC

Quality (Surface Water: Excessive
Nutrients and Organics)                                       NOT                                   NOT                                   NOT
                                                              meet                                  meet                                  meet


                                                              QC                                    QC                                    QC

Quality (Groundwater: Excessive
Nutrients and Organics)                                       NOT                                   NOT                                   NOT
                                                              meet                                  meet                                  meet


                                                              QC                                    QC                                    QC

Quality (Surface Water: Excessive
Susp. Sedmt & Turbidity)                                      NOT                                   NOT                                   NOT
                                                              meet                                  meet                                  meet


                                                              QC                                    QC                                    QC




                                             190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                                           National Environmental Compliance Handbook




F. Resource Concerns           H. Effects of Alternatives
and Existing / Benchmark                  No Action                            Alternative 1                         Alternative 2
Conditions
                                                               √ if                                  √ if                                  √ if
(Analyze and record the                                       does                                  does                                  does
existing/benchmark              Amount, Status, Description           Amount, Status, Description           Amount, Status, Description
                                                              NOT                                   NOT                                   NOT
conditions for each identified    (short and long term)       meet      (short and long term)       meet      (short and long term)       meet
                                                               QC                                    QC                                    QC
concern)
WATER
Quality (Surface Water: Harmful
Temperatures)                                                 NOT                                   NOT                                   NOT
                                                              meet                                  meet                                  meet


                                                              QC                                    QC                                    QC

Quality (Surface Water: Harmful
Levels of Pathogens)                                          NOT                                   NOT                                   NOT
                                                              meet                                  meet                                  meet


                                                              QC                                    QC                                    QC

Quality (Groundwater: Harmful Levels
of Pathogens)                                                 NOT                                   NOT                                   NOT
                                                              meet                                  meet                                  meet


                                                              QC                                    QC                                    QC

Other
                                                              NOT                                   NOT                                   NOT
                                                              meet                                  meet                                  meet


                                                              QC                                    QC                                    QC


                                                              NOT                                   NOT                                   NOT
                                                              meet                                  meet                                  meet


                                                              QC                                    QC                                    QC




                                             190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                                                    National Environmental Compliance Handbook




F. Resource Concerns           H. (continued)
and Existing / Benchmark                   No Action                                        Alternative 1                         Alternative 2
Conditions
                                                                            √ if                                  √ if                                  √ if
(Analyze and record the                                                    does                                  does                                  does
existing/benchmark              Amount, Status, Description                        Amount, Status, Description           Amount, Status, Description
                                                                           NOT                                   NOT                                   NOT
conditions for each identified     (short and long term)                   meet      (short and long term)       meet      (short and long term)       meet
                                                                            QC                                    QC                                    QC
concern)
AIR
Pennsylvania air quality nonattainment counties can be found at:
PM 2.5:         http://www.epa.gov/reg3artd/airquality/pm25nonattareas.htm
Ozone:          http://www.epa.gov/reg3artd/airquality/ozone8hrmaintareas_2.htm
Quality [Particulate Matter < 2.5µm
diameter ("PM 2.5")                                                          NOT                                 NOT                                   NOT
                                                                          meet                                   meet                                  meet


                                                                           QC                                    QC                                    QC

Quality (Excessive Ozone)
                                                                          NOT                                    NOT                                   NOT
                                                                          meet                                   meet                                  meet


                                                                           QC                                    QC                                    QC

Quality (Chemical Drift)
                                                                          NOT                                    NOT                                   NOT
                                                                          meet                                   meet                                  meet


                                                                           QC                                    QC                                    QC

Quality (Objectionable Odors)
                                                                          NOT                                    NOT                                   NOT
                                                                          meet                                   meet                                  meet


                                                                           QC                                    QC                                    QC

Other
                                                                          NOT                                    NOT                                   NOT
                                                                          meet                                   meet                                  meet


                                                                           QC                                    QC                                    QC

                                                                          NOT                                    NOT                                   NOT
                                                                          meet                                   meet                                  meet


                                                                           QC                                    QC                                    QC

PLANTS
Condition (Noxious and Invasive
Plants)                                                                   NOT                                    NOT                                   NOT
                                                                          meet                                   meet                                  meet


                                                                           QC                                    QC                                    QC

Other
                                                                          NOT                                    NOT                                   NOT
                                                                          meet                                   meet                                  meet


                                                                           QC                                    QC                                    QC

                                                                          NOT                                    NOT                                   NOT
                                                                          meet                                   meet                                  meet


                                                                           QC                                    QC                                    QC




                                                       190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                                           National Environmental Compliance Handbook




F. Resource Concerns           H. (continued)
and Existing / Benchmark                   No Action                           Alternative 1                         Alternative 2
Conditions
                                                               √ if                                  √ if                                  √ if
(Analyze and record the                                       does                                  does                                  does
existing/benchmark              Amount, Status, Description           Amount, Status, Description           Amount, Status, Description
                                                              NOT                                   NOT                                   NOT
conditions for each identified     (short and long term)      meet      (short and long term)       meet      (short and long term)       meet
                                                               QC                                    QC                                    QC
concern)
ANIMALS
Fish and wildlife (Inadequate
Cover/Shelter)                                                NOT                                   NOT                                   NOT
                                                              meet                                  meet                                  meet


                                                              QC                                    QC                                    QC

Domestic animals (Inadequate
Quantities and Qual. of Feed &                                NOT                                   NOT                                   NOT
                                                              meet                                  meet                                  meet


                                                              QC                                    QC                                    QC

Domestic animals (Inadequate Stock
Water)                                                        NOT                                   NOT                                   NOT
                                                              meet                                  meet                                  meet


                                                              QC                                    QC                                    QC

Other
                                                              NOT                                   NOT                                   NOT
                                                              meet                                  meet                                  meet


                                                              QC                                    QC                                    QC


                                                              NOT                                   NOT                                   NOT
                                                              meet                                  meet                                  meet


                                                              QC                                    QC                                    QC

HUMAN - Economic and Social Considerations
Land Use



Public Health and Safety



Labor



Management Level



Other




                                             190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                                          National Environmental Compliance Handbook




              Special Environmental Concerns: Environmental Laws, Executive Orders, policies, etc.
In Section "I" complete and attach applicable Environmental Procedures Guide Sheets for documentation. Items with a "●" may require a
federal permit or consultation/coordination between the lead agency and another government agency. In these cases, effects may need to be
determined in consultation with another agency. Planning and practice implementation may proceed for practices not involved in
consultation.
I. Special Environmental J. Impacts to Special Environmental Concerns
Concerns                               No Action                        Alternative 1                              Alternative 2
(Document compliance with     Status and progress of             Status and progress of                     Status and progress of
                                                         √ if                                     √ if                                   √ if
Environmental Laws,                compliance.         needs          compliance.               needs            compliance.           needs
Executive Orders, policies, (Complete and attach Guide further (Complete and attach Guide       further   (Complete and attach Guide   further
                                                       action                                   action                                 action
etc. )                         Sheets as applicable)              Sheets as applicable)                      Sheets as applicable)
●Clean Air Act


●Clean Water Act / Waters of
the U.S.


●Coastal Zone Management


Coral Reefs                               N/A                                 N/A                                    N/A


●Cultural Resources / Historic
Properties


●Endangered and Threatened
Species


Environmental Justice


●Essential Fish Habitat                   N/A                                 N/A                                    N/A


Floodplain Management


Invasive Species


●Migratory Birds/Bald and
Golden Eagle Protection Act


Prime and Unique Farmlands


Riparian Area


Sole Source Aquifers


●Wetlands


●Wild and Scenic Rivers



K. Other Agencies and
                                         No Action                          Alternative 1                          Alternative 2
Broad Public Concerns
Easements, Permissions, Public
Review, or Permits Required
and Agencies Consulted.




                                            190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                                              National Environmental Compliance Handbook




K. (continued)
Other Agencies and Broad                     No Action                             Alternative 1                           Alternative 2
Public Concerns
Cumulative Effects Narrative
(Describe the cumulative
impacts considered, including
past, present and known future
actions regardless of who
performed the actions)



L. Mitigation




M. Preferred     √ preferred
Alternative      alternative


                 Supporting
                 reason


N. Context (Record context of alternatives analysis)
The significance of an action must be analyzed in several contexts such as society as a whole (human, national), the affected region, the
affected interests, and the locality.
O. Determination of Significance or Extraordinary Circumstances
Intensity: Refers to the severity of impact. Impacts may be both beneficial and adverse. A significant effect may exist even if the Federal
agency believes that on balance the effect will be beneficial. Significance cannot be avoided by terming an action temporary or by breaking it
down into small component parts.
If you answer ANY of the below questions "yes" then contact the State Environmental Liaison as there may be extraordinary
circumstances and significance issues to consider and a site specific NEPA analysis may be required.
   Yes      No
                     ● Is the preferred alternative expected to cause significant effects on public health or safety?
                     ● Is the preferred alternative expected to significantly effect unique characteristics of the geographic area such as
                       proximity to historic or cultural resources, park lands, prime farmlands, wetlands, wild and scenic rivers, or ecologically
                       critical areas?
                     ● Are the effects of the preferred alternative on the quality of the human environment likely to be highly controversial?

                     ● Does the preferred alternative have highly uncertain effects or involve unique or unknown risks on the human
                       environment?
                     ● Does the preferred alternative establish a precedent for future actions with significant impacts or represent a decision in
                       principle about a future consideration?
                     ● Is the preferred alternative known or reasonably expected to have potentially significant environment impacts to the
                       quality of the human environment either individually or cumulatively over time?
                     ● Will the preferred alternative likely have a significant adverse effect on ANY of the special environmental concerns?
                       Use the Evaluation Procedure Guide Sheets to assist in this determination. This includes, but is not limited to, concerns
                       such as cultural or historical resources, endangered and threatened species, environmental justice, wetlands,
                       floodplains, coastal zones, coral reefs, essential fish habitat, wild and scenic rivers, clean air, riparian areas, natural
                       areas, and invasive species.
                     ● Will the preferred alternative threaten a violation of Federal, State, or local law or requirements for the protection of the
                       environment?
P. The information recorded above is based on the best available information:
In the case where a non-NRCS person (i.e. a TSP) assists with planning they are to sign the first signature block and then NRCS is to sign
the second block as the responsible federal agency for the planning action.



                   Signature (TSP if applicable)                                        Title                                 Date


                         Signature (NRCS)                                               Title                                 Date




                                                190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                                            National Environmental Compliance Handbook




               The following sections are to be completed by the Responsible Federal Official (RFO)
Q. NEPA Compliance Finding (check one)
The preferred alternative:                                                                                           Action required
                                                                                                           Document in "R.1" below.
                 1) is not a federal action where the agency has control or responsibility.
                                                                                                           No additional analysis is required

                 2) is a federal action that is categorically excluded from further environmental          Document in "R.2" below.
                 analysis and there are no extraordinary circumstances.                                    No additional analysis is required

                 3) is a federal action that has been sufficiently analyzed in an existing Agency state,
                                                                                                           Document in "R.1" below.
                 regional, or national NEPA document and there are no predicted significant adverse
                                                                                                           No additional analysis is required.
                 environmental effects or extraordinary circumstances.

                 4) is a federal action that has been sufficiently analyzed in another Federal agency's
                                                                                                           Contact the State Environmental
                 NEPA document (EA or EIS) that addresses the proposed NRCS action and its' effects
                                                                                                           Liaison for list of NEPA documents
                 and has been formally adopted by NRCS. NRCS is required to prepare and publish
                                                                                                           formally adopted and available for
                 the agency's own Finding of No Significant Impact for an EA or Record of Decision for
                                                                                                           tiering. Document in "R.1" below.
                 an EIS when adopting another agency's EA or EIS document. Note: This box is not
                                                                                                           No additional analysis is required
                 applicable to FSA.

                 5) is a federal action that has NOT been sufficiently analyzed or may involve predicted Contact the State Environmental
                 significant adverse environmental effects or extraordinary circumstances and may        Liaison. Further NEPA analysis
                 require an EA or EIS.                                                                   required.

R. Rationale Supporting the Finding

R.1
Findings
Documentation


R.2
Applicable
Categorical
Exclusion(s)
(more than one may
apply)




I have considered the effects of the alternatives on the Resource Concerns, Economic and Social Considerations, Special
Environmental Concerns, and Extraordinary Circumstances as defined by Agency regulation and policy.

S. Signature of Responsible Federal Official:



                            Signature                                               Title                                 Date


                                                            Additional notes




                                              190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                                            National Environmental Compliance Handbook




               The following sections are to be completed by the Responsible Federal Official (RFO)
Q. NEPA Compliance Finding (check one)
The preferred alternative:                                                                                           Action required
                                                                                                           Document in "R.1" below.
                 1) is not a federal action where the agency has control or responsibility.
                                                                                                           No additional analysis is required

                 2) is a federal action that is categorically excluded from further environmental          Document in "R.2" below.
                 analysis and there are no extraordinary circumstances.                                    No additional analysis is required

                 3) is a federal action that has been sufficiently analyzed in an existing Agency state,
                                                                                                           Document in "R.1" below.
                 regional, or national NEPA document and there are no predicted significant adverse
                                                                                                           No additional analysis is required.
                 environmental effects or extraordinary circumstances.

                 4) is a federal action that has been sufficiently analyzed in another Federal agency's
                                                                                                           Contact the State Environmental
                 NEPA document (EA or EIS) that addresses the proposed NRCS action and its' effects
                                                                                                           Liaison for list of NEPA documents
                 and has been formally adopted by NRCS. NRCS is required to prepare and publish
                                                                                                           formally adopted and available for
                 the agency's own Finding of No Significant Impact for an EA or Record of Decision for
                                                                                                           tiering. Document in "R.1" below.
                 an EIS when adopting another agency's EA or EIS document. Note: This box is not
                                                                                                           No additional analysis is required
                 applicable to FSA.

                 5) is a federal action that has NOT been sufficiently analyzed or may involve predicted Contact the State Environmental
                 significant adverse environmental effects or extraordinary circumstances and may        Liaison. Further NEPA analysis
                 require an EA or EIS.                                                                   required.

R. Rationale Supporting the Finding

R.1
Findings
Documentation


R.2
Applicable
Categorical
Exclusion(s)
(more than one may
apply)




I have considered the effects of the alternatives on the Resource Concerns, Economic and Social Considerations, Special
Environmental Concerns, and Extraordinary Circumstances as defined by Agency regulation and policy.

S. Signature of Responsible Federal Official:



                            Signature                                               Title                                 Date


                                                            Additional notes




                                              190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                                National Environmental Compliance Handbook




"SOIL" drop down list
Erosion (Sheet and Rill)                                            "SEC" drop down list
Erosion (Wind)                                                      No Effect-see documentation
Erosion (Ephemeral Gully)                                           Upon Review, No Action Needed
Erosion (Classic Gully)                                             Upon Review, Not Applicable
Erosion (Streambank)                                                Upon Review, Not Present
Erosion (Shoreline)                                                 Upon Review, No Effect
Erosion (Irrigation Induced)                                        See Attached DocumentationNot present in project are
Erosion (Mass Movement)                                             Other
                                         N
Erosion (Road/Roadside/Construction Site) A
Condition (Organic Matter)                                          SEC secondary
Condition (Compaction)                                              Provide supporting information as needed
Condition (Subsidence)
Condition (Contaminants - Salts & Other Chemicals)
Condition (Contaminants - Animal Wastes & Other Organics)           "LandUse" drop down list
Condition (Contaminants - Commercial Fertilizer)                    Agroforestry Land
Condition (Contaminants - Residual Pesticides)                      Confined Animal Feeding Land
Condition (Damage from Soil Deposition)                             Crop Land (Irrigated or Non-Irrigated)
No resource concern identified                                      Forest Land
Other                                                               Grazed Forest Land
                                                                    Grazed Range Land
"WATER" drop down list                                              Hayland (Irrigated or Non-Irrigated)
Quantity (Excessive Seepage)                                        Headquarters
Quantity (Excessive Runoff, Flooding, or Ponding)                   Horticultural Specialty Cropland
Quantity (Excessive Subsurface Water)                               Irrigation Land
Quantity (Inadequate Outlets)                                       Mined Land
Quantity (Drifted Snow)                                             Native or Naturalized Pasture Land
Quantity (Inefficient Water Use on Irrigated Land)                  Natural Area
Quantity (Inefficient Water Use on Non-Irrigated Land)              Other land
Quantity (Reduced Capacity of Conveyances by Sed. Deposition)       Pasture Land (Irrigated or Non-Irrigated)
Quantity (Reduced Storage of Wtr Bodies by Sed. Accumulation)       Recreation Land
Quantity (Aquifer Overdraft)                                        Urban Land
Quantity (Insufficient Flows in Water Courses)                      Water
Quantity (Rangeland Hydrologic Cycle)                               Watershed Protection Land
Quality (Groundwater: Harmful Levels of Pesticides)                 Wetlands
Quality (Groundwater: Excessive Nutrients and Organics)             Wildlife Land
Quality (Groundwater: Excessive Salinity)

                                 190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                                  National Environmental Compliance Handbook




Quality (Groundwater: Harmful Levels of Heavy Metals)
Quality (Groundwater: Harmful Levels of Pathogens)
Quality (Groundwater: Harmful Levels of Petroleum)
Quality (Surface Water: Harmful Levels of Pesticides)
Quality (Surface Water: Excessive Nutrients and Organics)
Quality (Surface Water: Excessive Salinity)
Quality (Surface Water: Harmful Levels of Heavy Metals)
Quality (Surface Water: Harmful Levels of Pathogens)
Quality (Surface Water: Harmful Levels of Petroleum)
Quality (Surface Water: Excessive Susp. Sedmt & Turbidity)
Quality (Surface Water: Harmful Temperatures)
No resource concern identified
Other

"AIR" drop down list
Quality [Particulate Matter < 10µm diameter ("PM 10")]
Quality [Particulate Matter < 2.5µm diameter ("PM 2.5")]
Quality (Excessive Ozone)
Quality [Excessive Greenhouse Gas - Carbon Dioxide (CO2)]
Quality [Excessive Greenhouse Gas - Nitrogen Oxide (N20)]
Quality [Excessive Greenhouse Gas - Methane (CH4)]
Quality [Ammonia (NH3)]
Quality (Chemical Drift)
Quality (Objectionable Odors)
Quality (Reduced Visibility)
Quality (Undesirable Air Movement)
Quality (Adverse Air Temperature)
No resource concern identified
Other

"PLANTS" drop down list
Adaptability (Plants Not Adapted or Suited to Site)
Condition (Productivity, Health, and/or Vigor)
Condition (Impacts to Endangered or Threatened Plants)
Condition (Impacts to Declining Species, Species of Concern)
Condition (Noxious and Invasive Plants)
Condition (Impaired Forage Quality and Palatability)
Condition (Wildfire Hazard)
No resource concern identified
Other



"ANIMALS" drop down list
Fish and wildlife (Inadequate Food)
Fish and wildlife (Inadequate Cover/Shelter)
Fish and wildlife (Inadequate Water)
Fish and wildlife (Inadequate Space)
Fish and wildlife (Plant Community Fragmentation)
Fish and wildlife (Imbalance Among and Within Populations)
Fish and wildlife (Impacts to Endangered or Threatened Animals)


                                    190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                                National Environmental Compliance Handbook




Fish and wildlife (Impacts to Declining Species, Species of Concern)
Domestic animals (Inadequate Quantities and Qual. of Feed & Forage)
Domestic animals (Inadequate Shelter)
Domestic animals (Inadequate Stock Water)
Domestic animals (Stress and Mortality)
No resource concern identified
Other




No resource concern identified that needs addressed




                                  190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                                National Environmental Compliance Handbook




Form Instructions "A - D"




Form Instructions "E - F"




Form Instructions "G - H"



Resource Considerations Guide
Sheet "Optional"




Resource Considerations Guide
Sheet "Optional"




                                 190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                            National Environmental Compliance Handbook




Form Instructions "G - H"




                             190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                            National Environmental Compliance Handbook




Form Instructions "G - H"




                             190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
National Environmental Compliance Handbook




 190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                            National Environmental Compliance Handbook




Form Instructions "Human"




                             190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                            National Environmental Compliance Handbook




Form Instructions "I - K"




Form Instructions "K"




                             190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                            National Environmental Compliance Handbook




Form Instructions "L - O"




                             190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                            National Environmental Compliance Handbook




Form Instructions "P - Q"




Form Instructions "R - S"




                             190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                            National Environmental Compliance Handbook




Form Instructions "P - Q"




Form Instructions "R - S"




                             190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                                               National Environmental Compliance Handbook




                 SEC Benchmark
                 -Cite source of information

   Not present in project area


                            Context
ation as needed             local
                            regional
                            national
                            Other




Non-Irrigated)




                                                190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                                   National Environmental Compliance Handbook




Econ
Land Use
Capital
Labor
Management Level
Profitability
Risk
Public Health
and Safety

Other




NEPAcitations
Agricultural Management Assistance Program, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Environmental Assessment, November 200
Conservation Security/Stewardship Program, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Environmental Assessment, June 2009
Emergency Watershed Protection Program, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Programmatic Environmental Impact Stateme
Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Environmental Assessment, January 2009
Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Environmental Assessment, January 2009
Grassland Reserve Program, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Environmental Assessment, August 2009
Healthy Forest Reserve Program, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Environmental Assessment, April 2006
Wetlands Reserve Program, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Environmental Assessment, January 2009
Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Environmental Assessment, January 2009




Soil Survey
Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasts (does NOT include structural activities)
Plant Materials for Conservation
Inventory and Monitoring
River Basin Studies under Section 6 under Public law (PL) 83-566 as amended
NEW NRCS Categorical Exclusions:
    (1) Planting appropriate herbaceous and woody vegetation, which does not include noxious weeds or invasive plants, on di
    (2) Removing dikes and associated appurtenances (such as culverts, pipes, valves, gates, and fencing) to allow waters to acc
    (3) Plugging and filling excavated drainage ditches to allow hydrologic conditions to return to pre-drainage conditions to the
    (4) Replacing and repairing existing culverts, grade stabilization, and water control structures and other small structures tha
    (5) Restoring the natural topographic features of agricultural fields that were altered by farming and ranching activities for
    (6) Removing or relocating residential, commercial, and other public and private buildings and associated structures constru
    (7) Removing storm debris and sediment following a natural disaster where there is a continuing and eminent threat to pub
    (8) Stabilizing stream banks and associated structures to reduce erosion through bioengineering techniques following a nat
    (9) Repairing or maintenance of existing small structures or improvements (including structures and improvements utilized
    (10) Constructing small structures or improvements for the restoration of wetland, riparian, in stream, or native habitats. E
    (11) Restoring an ecosystem, fish and wildlife habitat, biotic community, or population of living resources to a determinable
    (12) Repairing or maintenance of existing constructed fish passageways, such as fish ladders or spawning areas impacted by
    (13) Repairing, maintaining, or installing fish screens to existing structures;
    (14) Repairing or maintaining principal spillways and appurtenances associated with existing serviceable dams, originally co


                                     190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                                   National Environmental Compliance Handbook




   (15) Repairing or improving (deepening/widening/armoring) existing auxiliary/emergency spillways associated with dams, o
   (16) Repairing embankment slope failures on structures, originally built to NRCS standards, where the work is confined to th
   (17) Increasing the freeboard (which is the height from the auxiliary (emergency) spillway crest to the top of embankment)
   (18) Modifying existing residential, commercial, and other public and private buildings to prevent flood damages, such as el
   (19) Undertaking minor agricultural practices to maintain and restore ecological conditions in floodplains after a natural dis
   (20) Implementing soil control measures on existing agricultural lands, such as grade stabilization structures (pipe drops), se
   (21) Implementing water conservation activities on existing agricultural lands, such as minor irrigation land leveling, irrigati
USDA Categorical Exclusions:
(1) Policy development; planning and implementation which relate to routine activities, such as personnel, organizational chan
(2) Activities which deal solely with the funding of programs, such as program budget proposals, disbursements, and transfer o
(3) Inventories, research activities, and studies, such as resource inventories and routine data collection when such actions are
(4) Educational and informational programs and activities;
(5) Civil and criminal law enforcement and investigative activities;
(6) Activities which are advisory and consultative to other agencies and public and private entities, such as legal counseling and
(7) Activities related to trade representation and market development activities abroad.




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al Assessment, November 2002
 Assessment, June 2009
nvironmental Impact Statement, August 2009
 ssessment, January 2009
 ssessment, January 2009



ent, January 2009




eds or invasive plants, on disturbed sites to restore and maintain the sites ecological functions and services; Requires that the established veg
ncing) to allow waters to access floodplains to the extent that existed prior to the installation of such dikes and associated appurtenances;
 e-drainage conditions to the extent practicable;
 d other small structures that were damaged by natural disasters where there is no new depth required and only minimal dredging, excavatio
  and ranching activities for the purpose of restoring ecological processes;
 ssociated structures constructed in the 100-year floodplain or within the breach inundation area of an existing dam or other flood control str
g and eminent threat to public health or safety, property, and natural and cultural resources and removal is necessary to restore lands to pre-
  techniques following a natural disaster to restore pre-disaster conditions to the extent practicable, e.g., utilization of living and nonliving pla
  and improvements utilized to restore disturbed or altered wetland, riparian, in stream, or native habitat conditions). Examples of such activit
 tream, or native habitats. Examples of activities include installation of fences and construction of small berms, dikes, and associated water co
resources to a determinable pre-impact condition;
spawning areas impacted by natural disasters or human alteration;

viceable dams, originally constructed to NRCS standards, in order to meet current safety standards. Work will be confined to the existing foot


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 ays associated with dams, originally constructed to NRCS standards, in order to meet current safety standards. Work will be confined to the d
re the work is confined to the embankment or abutment areas;
to the top of embankment) of an existing dam or dike, originally built to NRCS standards, by raising the top elevation in order to meet current
nt flood damages, such as elevating structures or sealing basements to comply with current State safety standards and Federal performance s
oodplains after a natural disaster or on lands impacted by human alteration. Examples of these practices include: mowing, haying, grazing, fen
 n structures (pipe drops), sediment basins, terraces, grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian forest buffer, and critical area planting;
gation land leveling, irrigation water conveyance (pipelines), irrigation water control structures, and various management practices.

sonnel, organizational changes, or similar administrative functions;
bursements, and transfer or reprogramming of funds;
tion when such actions are clearly limited in context and intensity;


such as legal counseling and representation; and




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ires that the established vegetative community maintain the sites ecological functions and services, which could not be accomplished by conv
ociated appurtenances;

minimal dredging, excavation, or placement of fill is required;

m or other flood control structure in order to restore natural hydrologic conditions of inundation or saturation, vegetation, or reduce hazards
sary to restore lands to pre-disaster conditions to the extent practicable. Excavation will not exceed the pre-disaster condition;
n of living and nonliving plant materials in combination with natural and synthetic support materials, such as rocks, riprap, geo-textiles, for slo
ns). Examples of such activities include the repair or stabilization of existing stream crossings for livestock or human passage, levees, culverts,
es, and associated water control structures;




confined to the existing footprint of the dam, and no major change in reservoir or downstream operations will result;


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ork will be confined to the dam or abutment areas, and no major change in reservoir or downstream operation will result;

on in order to meet current safety and performance standards. The purpose of the safety standard and associated work is to ensure that dur
 and Federal performance standards;
mowing, haying, grazing, fencing, offstream watering facilities, and invasive species control which are undertaken when fish and wildlife are n
tical area planting;
gement practices.




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ot be accomplished by converting native forests or grasslands.




getation, or reduce hazards posed to public safety;
er condition;
s, riprap, geo-textiles, for slope stabilization, erosion reduction, and vegetative establishment and establishment of appropriate plant commu
 n passage, levees, culverts, berms, dikes, and associated appurtenances;




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d work is to ensure that during extreme rainfall events, flows are confined to the auxiliary/emergency spillway so that the existing structure is

when fish and wildlife are not breeding, nesting, rearing young, or during other sensitive timeframes;




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of appropriate plant communities (bank shaping and planting, brush mattresses, log, root wad, and boulder stabilization methods);




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hat the existing structure is not overtopped which may result in a catastrophic failure. Elevating the top of the dam will not result in an increa




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zation methods);




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m will not result in an increase to lake or stream levels. Work will be confined to the existing dam and abutment areas, and no major change




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reas, and no major change in reservoir operations will result. Examples of work may include the addition of fill material such as earth or grave




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nclude the addition of fill material such as earth or gravel or placement of parapet walls;




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                   Instructions for Completing the
      Environmental Evaluation Worksheet (Form NRCS-CPA-52),

INTRODUCTION
The Environmental Evaluation (EE) is “a concurrent part of the planning process in which the potential long-term
and short-term impacts of an action on people, their physical surroundings, and nature are evaluated and
alternative actions explored” (NPPH-Amendment 4, March 2003). This form provides for the documentation of that
part of the planning process, and was designed to assist the conservation planner with compliance requirements
for applicable Federal laws, regulations, Executive Orders, and policy. The form also provides a framework for
documenting compliance with applicable State and local requirements.
NRCS is required to conduct an EE on all actions to determine if there is a need for an Environmental Assessment
(EA) or an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EE process results in a "Finding" or conclusion (see
guidance for "Q" below) that, either further NEPA analysis is required (EA or EIS) or that no EA or EIS is required
because: 1) There is no federal action; 2) The action is categorically excluded; or 3) There is an existing NRCS or
NRCS-adopted NEPA document that has sufficiently analyzed the effects of this action. The EE applies to all
assistance provided by NRCS (GM190, Part 410.5). The CPA-52 form is used by NRCS to document the results of
the evaluation and show compliance with NRCS regulations implementing NEPA at 7 CFR Part 650.

A copy of the NRCS-CPA-52 must be included in the administrative file. Supporting documentation, including the
applicable Special Environmental Concerns Evaluation Procedure Guide Sheets, must be retained and should be
included with the NRCS-CPA-52 to relay specific compliance information.

Attach additional sheets or assistance notes if more documentation space is needed beyond the form
NRCS-CPA-52, including any state-specific worksheets.

COMPLETING THE NRCS-CPA-52
A.    Client Name

B.    Conservation Plan ID # (as applicable)
      Program Authority (optional): Identifying the program authority (EQIP, WRP, etc.) can help lead the
      planner to the appropriate NRCS NEPA document the planner may tier to as addressed later in section "R.
      Rational Supporting the Finding".

C.    Identification #: Record any other relevant client identification # (farm, tract, field #, etc.).

D.    Client's Objective(s) (purpose): Briefly summarize the client's stated objective(s) [synonymous to
      "Purpose" under NEPA]. Refer to Step 2 of the NRCS planning process found in the NPPH, Part 600.22 for
      help, if needed. "Purpose" refers to a goal being pursued in the process of meeting the "Need", such as
      keeping the operation economically viable or meeting TMDL requirements. Clearly articulated purposes
      become the decision factors used to decide between the action alternatives.

E.    Need for Action: Describe the underlying need being met. Why is the action being proposed? The
      underlying need will define and shape the alternatives; therefore it is important to accurately articulate the
      need(s) based on the identified resource concerns and the landowner objectives. The chosen alternative
      should clearly address the underying need(s). A " need" is usually the improvement of the condition of a
      natural resource(s), for example the quality of runoff water from a farm does not meet State standards, or
      inadequate forage supply and/or grazing strategies are resulting in poor livestock performance. Use
      information from Step 3 of the Conservation Planning Process (Resource Inventory) to help define the need.
      Identify here which Resource Concerns need to be addressed in the plan.




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F.   Resource Concerns and Existing / Benchmark Conditions:
     Resource Concerns Analyze and record resource concerns from the current list in your state's eFOTG
     Section III that have been identified through the Resources Inventory process as a concern that needs to be
     addressed. The Resource Quality Criteria will also be helpful in considering potential environmental effects
     and comparing alternatives. Include all resource concerns that apply, adding additional sheets as
     necessary.

     Documenting Existing/Benchmark Conditions Analyze and record the existing (benchmark) conditions
     for each relevant concern using state-specific tools and protocols available. For example, "the current soil
     erosion rate = 6T" (or note where this information can be found in the conservation plan). This information
     will inform the final decision by allowing a comparative effects analysis of all alternatives (including the "no
     action" alternative). (Note: States often choose to include protocols here to assist the field planner with
     identification and descriptions of Resource Concerns, as well as other state-specific worksheets.) Optional:
     If desired, planners can include specific land use designations here.

     Human - Economic and Social Considerations Below are some examples for what to consider when
     addressing the Human - Economic and Social Considerations.
     Land use:
       ● Is the present land use suitable for the proposed alternative?
       ● Will land use change after practice(s) installation?
       ● How will a change affect the operation? (e.g., Feed and Forage Balance Sheet)
       ● Will the action affect resources on which people depend for subsistence, employment or recreation?
       ● Will land be taken in or out of production?
     Capital:
       ● Does the producer have the funds or ability to obtain the funds needed to implement the proposed
         alternative?
       ● What are the impacts of the cost of the initial investment for this alternative?
       ● What are the impacts of any additional annual costs for Operation and Maintenance?
       ● What possible impact does implementing this alternative have on the client’s future eligibility for farm
         programs?
     Labor:
       ● Does the client understand the amount and kind of labor needed to implement, operate and maintain
         the proposed practice(s)?
       ● Does the client have the skills and time to carry out the conservation practice(s) or will they have to hire
         someone?
     Management level:
       ● Does the client understand the inputs needed to manage the practice(s) and the client's responsibility in
         obtaining these inputs?
       ● Does the client understand their responsibility to maintain practice(s) as planned and implemented?
       ● Is it necessary for the client to obtain additional education, or hire a technical consultant, to operate
         and/or maintain the practice(s)?
     Profitability:
       ● Profitability describes the relative benefits and costs of the farm or ranch operation, and is often
         measured in dollars. An activity is profitable if the benefits are greater than the costs.
       ● Is the proposed alternative needed and feasible?
       ● Do the benefits of improving the current operation outweigh the installation and maintenance costs
         (positive benefit/cost ratio)?
       ● Is there a reasonable expectation of long-term profitability/benefits for the operation if implemented?
       ● Will crop, livestock, or wildlife yield increase/decrease?




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     Risk:
       ● Adverse risk is the potential for monetary loss, physical injury, or damage to resources or the
         environment.
       ● Will the proposed alternative aid/risk client participation in USDA programs?
       ● What are the possible impacts due to a change in yield?
       ● Is there flexibility in modifying the conservation plan at a future date?
       ● What issues are involved with the timing of installation and maintenance?
       ● What are the cash flow requirements of this alternative?
       ● What, if any, are the hazards involved?
     Public Health and Safety:
       ● What effect (both positive or negative) will the action have on the client and community with regard to
         public health and safety?
       ● What are the off-site effects?

G.   Alternatives: Describe Alternatives Briefly summarize the practice/system of practices being proposed.
     The no action and RMS alternatives are required. (NPPH Part 600.41) Alternatives should be formulated to
     meet the underlying need. Note that the no action alternative may not meet the underlying need and is still
     required to be evaluated and compared to other alternatives (see below). To the extent possible, the
     alternatives should also prevent additional problems from occurring and take advantage of available
     opportunities. If there are unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of resources, appropriate
     alternatives that meet the underlying need must be developed.

     "No Action": Include a brief summary of the activities that would be implemented in the absence of USDA
     asistance (financial or technical). Unless a change in management direction or intensity will be undertaken,
     record effects of existing activities. The "No Action" alternative requires the same level of analysis as other
     alternatives. It should answer the question of what impacts are likely to occur (or what the predicted future
     condition of the identified resource concerns might be) under the landowner's current and planned
     management strategies without implementation of a federally assisted action.

     "Alternatives 1,2,etc.": List here the practices or system of practices being proposed for each alternative. At
     least one of the alternatives should contain the practices that NRCS has determined best address all of the
     identified resource concerns (i.e., RMS alternative). Indicate if the alternative meets RMS criteria based on
     your State's requirements. One or more other alternatives may be evaluated to aid in the decision-making
     process or at the request of the client. Use additional sheets if necessary.
     Under guidance in the NPPH Part 600.11(f) and the GM 180 Part 409.1(a)(2), at least one alternative that
     meets RMS criteria should be developed, evaluated, and discussed with the client.

     It is important to define the differences between each alternative, including the "No Action" alternative. See
     "Helpful Tips" in the NECH, Part 610.67 for guidance on narrowing the scope of your analysis when
     considering alternatives.

H.   Effects of Alternatives:
     Under "Amount, Status, Description", record the effect of each alternative on the concerns listed, quantifying
     where possible. It is important to consider and document both short-term and long-term consequences, as
     appropriate, for direct, indirect, and cumulative effects (described below). If a change to the concern is
     predicted, then estimate the amount. Professional judgement should be used where Quality Criteria or other
     tools are not avialable.
     Analyze effects based on the combined effect of all practices on the resource concern. For example, if one
     proposed practice may impact the water quality of an adjacent stream, but another proposed practice such
     as a buffer may reduce or eliminate the impact, the overall effect is the one that should be recorded here.
     As mentioned above, one or more "Other Alternative(s)" may be evaluated to aid in the decision-making
     process or at the request of the client. Use additional sheets if necessary.




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     "No Action": Record the impacts that are likely to occur (or what the predicted future condition of the
     identified resource concerns might be) under the landowner's planned management strategies without
     implementation of a federally assisted action. Address impacts to each identified resource concern,
     quantifying where possible. If this information is found elsewhere in the conservation plan, simply provide a
     summary here.
     "Alternatives 1,2, etc.": Record the impacts that are likely to occur under each alternative scenario.
     Document impacts to each identified resource concern, quantifying where possible. If this information is
     found elsewhere in the conservation plan, simply provide a summary here. Include both short and long-term
     consequences in the analysis.
     Categories of Effects to Consider- There are three categories of effects that must be considered when
     predicting short- and long-term effects of an alternative on concerns:
         Direct effects are caused by the alternative and occur at the same time and place.
         Indirect effects are caused by the alternative and are later in time or farther removed in distance, but are
         still reasonably foreseeable (e.g., "downstream" effects).
         Cumulative effects are those that result from all past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future
         actions. They can result from individually minor but collectively significant actions taking place over a
         period of time. Cumulative effects are most appropriately analyzed on a watershed or area-wide level.
         Cumulative Impacts ideally consider "...all actions in the area of potential effect, REGARDLESS of what
         agency (Federal or non-Federal) or person undertakes such other actions." (CEQ 1508.7)
     The NECH, Part 610.70, "Effects Analysis," provides important information on describing effects so that an
     adequate analysis can be made when the proposed alternative has adverse effects.
     Resource Concerns Use your state's eFOTG Section III Quality Criteria or other tools where possible
     which are the established threshold levels for identified resource concerns. Professional judgement should
     be used where Quality Criteria or other tools are not available. Place a check in the "NOT meet QC" box for
     each resource concern to indicate when FOTG Section III Quality Criteria will not be met (i.e., where
     additional measures are needed to meet QC).

I.   Special Environmental Concerns
     For guidance in addressing special environmental concerns, see NECH Subpart B and the Special
     Environmental Concern Evaluation Procedure Guide Sheets for specific information applicable to each
     concern. Where consultation with another federal agency is required (e.g., USFWS or NMFS) to determine
     potential environmental effects, follow established State protocols or contact the appropriate NRCS State
     Specialist for guidance. Document any additional State and/or local special environmental concerns in "K.
     Other Agencies and Broad Public Concerns". Attach additional documentation if needed.

J.   Impacts to Special Environmental Concerns: Briefly describe the status and/or description of effects on
     any of the Special Environmental Concerns, and include other notes as needed. Complete applicable
     Evaluation Procedure Guide Sheets or other state specific documentation as needed and include them in
     the client's administrative file. If the Special Environmental Concern is not present in the project area then
     there is no need to attach the Guide Sheet. Completion of Guide Sheets is not mandatory, but appropriate
     documentation should be provided. Check your own States' guidance for compliance and planning
     requirements.
     Place a check in the "needs action " box when effects have not been fully determined or when additional
     procedural action is needed, such as the need for a permit or completing required consultation with
     regulatory agencies. Practice implementation should not occur until all required consultations and
     coordination with the appropriate agency have been completed and all necessary permits provided.
     Planning and practice implementation may continue for practices not involved in required
     consultation/coordination efforts.




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K.   Other Agencies and Broad Public Concerns: List any necessary easements, permissions, or permits
     (e.g., Clean Water Act Section 404, Rivers and Harbors Act Section 10, Endangered Species Act Section
     10, wetland mitigation easements, state or county permits) required to implement the alternatives.
     Remember that identifying needed permits for ALL alternatives may be an important decision criteria
     between alternatives and should be considered during the planning process.

     Relay public concerns related to land-use, demographics, landscape characteristics, or other Federal,
     Tribal, State, and local laws/regulations. Document the impacts of each alternative on these issues.
     Responses will impact the selection of an alternative as well as issues surrounding "significance."
     Document contact and communications with USFWS, NOAA-NMFS, COE, EPA, SWCD's, NRCS State
     Office, state/local environmental agencies, etc., and others consulted, including public participation activities.
     The NECH, Part 610.68 provides important information on public participation requirements.
     Cumulative Effects Refer to NECH Part 610.70. A cumulative impact is defined as "the impact on the
     environment which results from the incremental impact of the action when added to other past, present and
     reasonably foreseeable future actions regardless of what agency (federal or non-federal) or person
     undertakes such other actions. Cumulative impacts can result from individually minor but collectively
     significant actions taking place over a period of time" (40 CFR 1508.70). Cumulative effects include the
     direct and indirect effects of a project together with the effects from reasonably foreseeable future actions of
     others. For a project to be reasonably foreseeable, it must have advanced far enough in the planning
     process that its implementation is likely. Reasonably foreseeable future actions are not speculative, are
     likely to occur based on reliable resources and are typically characterized in planning documents. Add
     additional pages as needed.

L.   Mitigation: Include here any mitigation measures that are NOT already incorporated in the alternatives that
     will offset any adverse impacts. Briefly describe or reference all mitigation efforts that may be applied at the
     time of the decision. Mitigation actions to be applied must be included in the conservation plan.

     As referenced in CEQ regulations Section 1508.20 and NECH Part 610.71, Mitigation includes:
       ● Avoiding the impacts altogether by not taking a certain action or parts of an action.
       ● Minimizing impacts by limiting the degree of magnitude of the action and its implementation.
       ● Rectifying the impact by repairing, rehabilitating, or restoring the affected environment.
       ● Reducing or eliminating impact over time by preservation/maintenance operations during action life.
       ● Compensating for the impact by replacing or providing substitute resources or environments.

M.   Preferred Alternative: Record which alternative was agreed upon by the client and agency and why. The
     decision should clearly address the underlying need(s) as identified in "E". The Objective(s) (Purpose)
     stated in "D" serves as the decision factors between alternatives.

N.   Context: Record the context used in the alternatives analysis. Significance varies with the setting of the
     proposed action. For instance, in the case of a site-specific action, significance would usually depend upon
     the effects in the locale rather than in the world as a whole. Both short- and long-term effects are relevant.


O.   Determination of Significance or Extraordinary Circumstances: This section is a very important part of
     the evaluation process. Many of our actions have been analyzed in one of the National/Regional
     Programmatic NEPA documents and will only require documentation as detailed in Q-3 below. However,
     site-specific circumstances (existence of federally listed species, important cultural resources, high degree
     of controversy, etc.) may be such that a more detailed analysis may be needed to determine, through an EA,
     that impacts would be non-significant, or through a more detailed EIS if we feel that impacts are likely to
     significantly or adversely affect the quality of the human environment. The questions in this section list
     those considerations that, if associated with implementation of the proposed action, may result in a
     determination of “significance.”




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      Categorical Exclusions: On the other hand, it may be the case that the action we are proposing falls
      under one of USDA or NRCS’ lists of “categorical exclusions.” Before documenting the use of one of these
      categorical exclusions, it is important to read Section 610.46 of the NECH. This section provides a list of all
      categorical exclusions that apply to actions as well as more detailed considerations and requirements for
      their use. In order for an action to be categorically excluded, appropriate documentation must be made on
      the NRCS-CPA-52 indicating that the proposed action does not meet any of the criteria for “significance,” as
      discussed above. These criteria are also known as “extraordinary circumstances” when discussing
      categorical exclusions. If a proposed plan involves any actions that are NOT on the list of allowable
      categorical exclusions, the entire action can NOT be categorically excluded from review under NEPA. Also,
      if actions are interdependent, they can NOT be segmented into smaller component parts to avoid the
      requisite and appropriate level of environmental review under NEPA.
      To complete the determination on the NRCS-CPA-52, check "yes" or "no" for each of the questions. If
      you are not sure about the answer, contact your State Environmental Liaison for assistance. The NRCS-
      CPA-52 must provide evidence to conclude that the activity will not result in significant adverse
      environmental effects or extraordinary circumstances on the quality of the human environment, either
      individually or cumulatively. If any of the extraordinary circumstances are found to apply to the proposed
      action, then you should determine whether the proposal can be modified to mitigate the adverse effects and
      prevent the extraordinary circumstances. If this can be done and the client agrees to any necessary
      change(s) in the proposed action to avoid significant adverse impacts, then the proposed action is to be
      modified and implemented. If the proposed action cannot be modified or the proponent refuses to accept a
      proposed change, then Item 5 in Section “Q” must be checked for the NRCS NEPA Compliance Finding to
      indicate that additional analysis and documentation is needed.

P.    Signature (planner): The individual completing Parts A thru P of the CPA-52 must sign and date to
      indicate they have used the best available information. This may or may not be the same person as the
      agency RFO. In cases wher the planner is not a NRCS employee they will sign the first signature area and
      then the NRCS will also need to sign to confirm and validate the information as the responsible agency.

Parts "Q" thru "S" must be completed by the Responsible Federal Official (RFO).
For NRCS applications this is the NRCS employee responsible for NEPA compliance at the state or field office
level. For NRCS the State Conservationist is the RFO and may delegate that authority to a designated agency
representative.
Q.    NEPA Compliance Finding (check one): This finding will determine the appropriate NEPA action
      required. Instructions below correspond to the option numbers in Section "Q" of the Form. In Section "R"
      document the rationale for your Finding.
       1) Federal actions do NOT include situations in which NRCS (or any other federal agency) provides
          technical assistance (CTA) only. The agency cannot control what the client ultimately does with that
          assistance. Non-Federal actions include, but are not limited to:
               ● NRCS makes HEL or wetland conservation determinations.
               ● NRCS provides technical designs where there is no federal financial assistance.
               ● NRCS provides planning assistance or other technical assistance and information to individuals,
                 organizations, States, or local governments where there is no federal financial assistance or other
                 control of the decision or action.
       2) Categorically excluded (CE) actions are a category of actions which do not individually or cumulatively
          have a significant effect on the human environment, therefore, neither an environmental assessment
          nor an environmental impact statement is required. First determine whether the proposed action is a
          categorically excluded action as identified in NRCS or USDA regulations implementing NEPA. Note that
          there may be overarching or CE-specific side boards that must be met in order to apply a CE. If the
          proposed action is listed as a CE action, then assess whether there are any applicable extraordinary
          circumstances which would prevent the action from being eligible as a CE. Check this box only if the
          action is categorically excluded AND there are no EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES involved or
          affected by the proposed action. USDA and NRCS categorical exclusions are listed in the NECH, Part
          610.46.


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     3) Check this box if there is an existing NRCS NEPA document that has sufficiently analyzed the action
        being proposed. A number of NRCS National Programmatic NEPA documents have analyzed effects of
        many practices planned under nationwide conservation programs. There may also be Regional, State,
        or area wide Programmatic NEPA documents that can be referred to. For information about "Tiering" to
        existing NRCS NEPA documents see the NECH Part 610.81.

         Keep in mind that Programmatic EA's and EIS's are not site-specific so they do not attempt to describe
         every possible type of effect resulting from actions that could be taken. Thus, you must use your
         knowledge of site-specific conditions to decide if additional analysis is needed. Network diagrams
         illustrating general effects of conservation practices can be found that are associated with national or
         state EA's or EIS's. These diagrams may help in analyzing effects of practices.

         Authorized planners and RFOs should conduct their own analyses in a similar manner to assess site-
         specific environmental impacts. Impacts to other resources protected by Executive Orders, laws, and
         policies (i.e., the Special Environmental Concerns such as cultural resources, endangered species, and
         riparian areas) must be evaluated separately unless an existing NEPA document analyzes those
         impacts for the same geographic area and at the same site-specific scale covered by the selected
         alternative. Potentially significant adverse impacts requiring consultation under other applicable
         environmental laws and Executive Orders may require preparation of a site-specific EA or EIS. The
         State Environmental Liaison should be consulted in such cases to assist in determining whether a site-
         specific EA or EIS is required.
         Copies of NRCS national programmatic NEPA documents may be viewed on NRCS’ Environmental
         Compliance web page.

     4) It is possible to tier to NEPA documents prepared by other Federal agencies if they have undergone a
        formal "adoption" process by NRCS as outlined in the NECH 610.83 and CEQ regulations 40 CFR-
        1506.3. NRCS must have prepared and published the agency's own Finding of No Significant Impact
        (FONSI) for an EA or Record of Decision for an EIS in order for a NEPA document to be "adopted". For
        information about "Tiering" to NEPA documents see the NECH Section 610.81.
     5) If 1), 2), 3), or 4) do not apply, the action may cause a significant effect on the quality of the human
        environment and an EA or EIS may be required. Additional analysis may be required to comply with
        NEPA. Contact the State Environmental Liaision or equivalent for guidance on completing this analysis
        and provide them with a copy of the NRCS-CPA-52 and supporting documentation.

R.   Rationale Supporting the Finding: Explain the reasons for making the "Finding" in "R".
     If "Q 1)" was selected, explain why the action is NOT a federal action subject to NRCS regulations
     implementing NEPA.
     If "Q 2)" was selected, document the categorical exclusion that covers the proposed action and indicate that
     there are no extraordinary circumstances.
     If "Q 3)" was selected, identify any applicable NRCS NEPA document. Record the citation of the NRCS
     NEPA document you are tiering to.
     If "Q 4)" was selected, identify any applicable NRCS NEPA document that was officially adopted from
     another agency. Record the citation of the NRCS adopted NEPA document you are tiering to.
     If " Q 5)"was selected, document your analysis and provide this information (NRCS-CPA-52 and supporting
     ducuments) to your State Environmental Liaison or equivalent.

S.   Signature of Responsible Federal Official(RFO): The appropriate agency RFO must sign and date. The
     RFO should wait to make the finding until all consultations, permits, etc., are finalized. This signature
     certifies that the proposed action/plan complies with all NRCS policies implementing NEPA and all other
     applicable Federal, State, and local laws/Executive Orders.




                                 190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010                              page 115 of 134
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Return to NRCS-CPA-52




GM 190
Part 410 subpart A




Return to NRCS-CPA-52




                          190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010    page 116 of 134
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Return to NRCS-CPA-52




draft National Economic Handbook
Part 610




Return to NRCS-CPA-52




                                   190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010   page 117 of 134
                        National Environmental Compliance Handbook




Return to NRCS-CPA-52




NPPH
Part 600.41




Return to NRCS-CPA-52




NPPH
Part 600.11(f)

GM 180
Part 409.1(a)(2)




Return to NRCS-CPA-52




                          190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010    page 118 of 134
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CEQ regulations 40 CFR-1508.7




Return to NRCS-CPA-52




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Return to NRCS-CPA-52




Return to NRCS-CPA-52




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Return to NRCS-CPA-52




Return to NRCS-CPA-52




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Return to NRCS-CPA-52


http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/envicomp.html




CEQ regulations 40 CFR-1506.3




Return to NRCS-CPA-52




                                  190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010    page 122 of 134
                          Environmental Evaluation Worksheet (NRCS-CPA-52)

                       Pennsylvania Supplemental Instructions

GENERAL
●   Current version of the CPA-52 is required for all NRCS assistance with 1) conservation planning;
    2) Farm Bill conservation programs; and 3) associated implementation activities.
           o Current version of the CPA-52 is also required for all substantial modifications of prior
                versions of the Environmental Evaluation Worksheet (minor modifications do not require
                the use of the current version).
●   One CPA-52 per land unit - Generally one CPA-52 is used per land unit. Land unit can be a tract, farm, field,
    landuse or other applicable designation and must be documented in Section C.
             o Revise, supplement and update CPA-52, including Findings, as needed.
             o Sometimes it may be advantageous to develop another CPA-52 for major revisions or special
                 programs like the Conservation Stewardship Program.
             o It may also be advantageous to supplement specific sections, to address aspects related to specific
                 programs.
●   Excel version encouraged – the Excel version has dropdown menus and imbedded supplemental guidance that
    are quite valuable. However the form may be printed out and completed by hand if desired.
●   Pennsylvania - template encouraged – the Pennsylvania CPA-52 template is pre-populated with the required
    Pennsylvania Resource Concerns (Attachment A) and Special Environmental Concerns (Attachment B) and
    also includes these Supplemental Instructions and other helpful guidance.
●   Supporting documentation required - all information in the CPA-52, including "not applicable", must be
    supported; document in the worksheet itself, in the Guide Sheets (do not use the Cultural Resources,
    Endangered and Threatened Species, or Wetlands Guide Sheets), or elsewhere in the client case file.
●   All sections of the CPA-52 worksheet must be completed.
●   Must be signed (hard copy) – Sections P and S require signatures. A hardcopy of the signed CPA52 must be
    on-file. Electronic copies are optional, but encouraged.
●   Maintain in Case File – official signature CPA-52’s must be maintained as a hardcopy in the case file.
             o Archive outdated CPA-52 or equivalent forms – as a minimum, retain copies of outdated CPA-
                 52s or equivalent worksheets that were used to support any financial assistance until at least one
                 year after all contractual obligations of that assistance have been fulfilled.



SECTIONS

C       Identification – in addition to identifying information, clearly note the land unit(s) that is covered by the
        CPA-52.
G       Alternatives – when describing alternatives, reference the conservation plan for planned practices.
        There is no need to repeat information that is described elsewhere. If the No Action is essentially
        the same as the Existing/Benchmark Conditions, note that here also. Any alternative check-
        marked RMS must treat all identified resource concerns to the quality criteria level.




                                                   Page 123 of 134
F / H Resource Concerns & Existing/Benchmark Conditions
      1. Resource Concerns – all Pennsylvania Resource Concerns (Attachment A) must be evaluated for all
         conservation planning activities, all Farm Bill conservation programs and all associated implementation
         activities. The Pennsylvania CPA-52 template includes the required concerns. When needed, other
         Pennsylvania resource concerns applicable to the land unit should be added to the worksheet. For Watershed
         Programs and special projects such as dam removal, all applicable Pennsylvania Resource Concerns will be
         evaluated.
      2. Benchmark, No Action and one or two Alternatives (including the planned action/preferred alternative)
         must be evaluated. If the preferred alternative is not to the RMS quality criteria, an RMS alternative should
         be offered to the client and its effects evaluated in the worksheet.
      3. Benchmark - sensitive information may be omitted.
      4. No Action – often the No Action alternative (future condition without NRCS assistance) is essentially the
         same as the Existing/Benchmark condition. In these cases, there is no need to complete the Existing/
         Benchmark narratives. Just note in Section G. Alternatives that the “Benchmark and No Action are the
         same”, and complete the No Action column based on the existing/benchmark conditions for each identified
         Resource Concern.
      5. Alternative 1 or 2 – The planned action/preferred alternative must be evaluated and documented (then check
         box in Section M, indicating it is the Preferred Alternative).
              The planned action/preferred alternative can be either the RMS alternative or a progressive level of
                  planning.
              When programs or initiatives exist, the preferred alternative must meet the criteria of those programs
                  or initiatives and be consistent with the program documents, such as the ranking forms. Such
                  program or initiative criteria may be at the RMS Quality Criteria or progressive planning levels.
      6. Quality Criteria (QC) – check the box if the Quality Criteria is NOT met.
              If the quality criteria is met for a resource concern then it is sufficient to simply state “Meets QC”.
                  Additional narrative is only required if more information is needed to adequately describe and
                  document effects. Whether or not the Quality Criteria will be met may vary between alternatives (No
                  Action; Planned Action; other Alternatives).
      7. Considerations when documenting effects:
              ●   Key words and phrases to use in narratives when applicable include enhanced, reduced, improved, increased,
                  meets QC. Use modifiers such as slightly, moderately, substantially.
              ●   If an Alternative action results in no effect, state No Effect.
              ●   If a resource concern does not apply, use NA.
              ●   Only use the term “significant” if applicable. When using the term “significant”, concurrence from a specialist
                  and the Responsible Federal Official is required. Such language may indicate the need for a site specific
                  National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis.
              ●   If documenting an RMS, Quality Criteria must be met for all identified resource concerns for the land unit.

I/J       Special Environmental Concerns – all concerns must be addressed
      1. Supplemental Guidance - refer to the Pennsylvania Supplemental Guidance for the Special Environmental
         Concerns (Attachment B)
      2. Special Environmental Concerns (far left column) – cite the primary source(s) of information used for each
         special concern
      3. Guide Sheets – use is optional. Do not use the Guide Sheets for Cultural Resources, Endangered and
         Threatened Species, or Wetlands; follow the NRCS-PA procedures for these items.
      4. Further Action Needed - check the box when issues cannot be resolved prior to completing the CPA-52. In
         all cases, the client must be informed that further action is needed.
               Check this box when detailed investigations, consultations or permits are needed that cannot be
                  resolved quickly (e.g., issues related to Cultural Resources, Wetland, Endangered Species).
               In Particular, use this check-box for planned actions that the client is not ready to implement, but
                  detailed investigations, consultations or permits are required and these investigations will be
                  postponed until the client is ready to implement.




                                                       Page 124 of 134
    5. Considerations when documenting status, compliance and effects:
           ●    Key words and phrases to use in narratives when applicable include enhanced, reduced, improved, increased.
                Use modifiers such as slightly, moderately and substantially.
           ●    If an Alternative action is in compliance with the law, rule, executive order, state In Compliance
           ●    If an Alternative action results in no effect, state No Effect.
           ●    If a special environmental concern does not apply, use NA.
           ●    Only use the term “significant” if applicable. When using the term “significant”, concurrence from a
                specialist and the Responsible Federal Official is required. Such language may indicate the need for a site
                specific National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis.

L      Mitigation – generally only applies to wetlands, endangered and threatened species, cultural resources and
       other regulated resources that require mitigation to offset planned impacts. If none, state “none”.

N      Context – list up to three; for most farm level actions, the context will be “local” and/or “10 or 12-digit
       watershed”. Also note “Chesapeake Bay” watershed, if applicable.

O      Determination of Significance or Extraordinary Circumstances – answer these questions relative
       to the Preferred Alternative checked in section M. For most farm level actions, these items will generally
       be answered “no” since the planned actions will not be “significant” as defined under NEPA. However, if
       any of the planned actions may cause “significant” effects, or highly controversial or uncertain effects, or
       may violate the law, contact the NRCS State Environmental Liaison for guidance.

P      The information recorded above is based on the best available information

       Signature (planner) – this section must be signed and dated by the qualified individual who completed the
       CPA-52 through this section. Separate blocks are used by TSP (non-NRCS) or NRCS. The individual
       completing the worksheet must be qualified by completing required training and other requirements.
       Refer to Pennsylvania GM Supplement - Delegations of Authority (130-GM, Part 400.14 - PA Supplement
       5) for requirements to be considered qualified to complete the CPA-52. Certified Conservation Planners
       are qualified to complete the worksheet and sign this section.

               Signature/Title/Date (TSP, if applicable) – all qualified non-NRCS planners must sign this line

                In addition, the designated Responsible Federal Official (generally the District Conservationist at
                the Field Office level), must sign and date the NRCS block to certify that a qualified non-
                NRCS planner completed the worksheet.

           ●    Signature/Title/Date (NRCS) – in all cases, NRCS employee must sign as follows:
                    o Qualified NRCS planners must sign when the worksheet is completed by that planner.
                    o RFO must sign when the worksheet is completed and signed by a non-NRCS individual (to
                       certify that a qualified non-NRCS planner completed the worksheet).

Q- S   NEPA Finding/Rationale/Signature - ONLY to be completed by the designated Responsible Federal
       Official (RFO) of the agency that administers the program. For NRCS, the designated agency RFO at the
       Field Office level is generally the District Conservationist (see S below).

           ●    Non-NRCS Programs - NRCS does not complete this section for non-NRCS programs. The RFO
                of other agencies MAY or MAY NOT choose to complete this section at their discretion. Here are
                some NRCS and FSA administered programs. Note that GRP is jointly administered.

               Agency    Programs

               NRCS      AMA, CBWI, CSP, CTA, EQIP, EWP, FRPP, GLRI, GRP, HFRP, PL 83-566, WHIP, WRP
               FSA       CRP, CREP, DFN, ECP, GRP, Conservation Loan Program




                                                       Page 125 of 134
            ●    Multiple Findings – multiple Findings are possible for a land unit. For example, a Finding of
                 “Not a Federal Action” for technical assistance only and a Finding of “Sufficiently analyzed in an
                 agency NEPA document” for the portion to be implemented through EQIP or an FSA program.

Q       NEPA Compliance Finding

     1. Not a federal action – check this box if NRCS is only providing technical assistance and there is no NRCS
        financial assistance. Examples include conservation planning and designs under CTA and technical
        assistance for FSA programs.
     2. Categorically excluded –see Attachment C for 21 categorically excluded activities that may apply to the
        planned action. Check this box if one or more categorical exclusions apply to the entire planned
        action/preferred alternative.
     3. Sufficiently analyzed in an existing published NEPA document – check this box if the planned action is
        not categorically excluded and will be funded by a Farm Bill Program. Most NRCS and FSA programs
        (EQIP, CSP, AMA, GRP, FRPP, etc) have programmatic NEPA documents. In addition, check this box if
        a PL 83-566 watershed plan- environmental assessment or environmental impact statement covers the
        planned action.
     4. Other agency NEPA document formally adopted by NRCS – none adopted for Pennsylvania at this
        time. Do not check.
     5. Federal Action NOT sufficiently analyzed - before checking this box, communicate with the NRCS-PA
        environmental contact listed on the NRCS-PA webpage at:
        http://www.pa.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/Environmental_Compliance/index.html

R.      Findings Documentation – Use Section R.1 for Findings 1, 3-5; Use Section R.2 for Finding 2.
        Generally the following language or similar will suffice:

     1. Finding 1 - Not a federal action; state:
            Technical assistance only; or
            CTA planning only; or
            Technical assistance for non-NRCS program (i.e., FSA program)
     2. Finding 2 – Categorically Excluded
            Reference the specific number(s), (1)-(21), of the applicable Categorical Exclusion(s) from
               Attachment C. Use all categorical exclusions that apply. However, to use this finding all of the
               planned actions must be categorically excluded.
     3. Finding 3 - Sufficiently Analyzed in an existing NEPA document; state:
            NRCS Programmatic NEPA document; or
            Reference a specific NRCS Watershed Plan-EA or EIS
     4. Finding 4 - Other agency NEPA document – DO NOT USE (none adopted by NRCS-PA)
     5. Finding 5 – Not sufficiently analyzed (get assistance from NRCS State Environmental Liaison)

S       Signature of RFO – this section must be signed and dated by the RFO for the agency that administers the
        program. The NRCS RFO is generally the District Conservationist at the Field Office level. Refer to
        Pennsylvania GM Supplement - Delegations of Authority (130-GM, Part 400.14 - PA Supplement 5).

Additional Notes – use to highlight/identify (if applicable):
        Outstanding issues, such as permits still needed
        Consultation with other agencies that is not completed
        Changes made or clarifications needed regarding revisions or updates to the CPA-52




                                                     Page 126 of 134
                                                          Attachment A
                          Pennsylvania Resource Concerns for Sections F/H
The effects on all Resource Concerns from FOTG III-PA Quality Criteria must be evaluated for all conservation planning, all Farm Bill
conservation programs and all associated implementation (watershed programs and special projects will use all applicable resource
concerns). The following concerns are required for effects evaluation and are pre-populated in the Pennsylvania CPA-52 template. The
PA template is available in FOTG, Section III-Planning and Environmental Compliance Information. Links are available on the NRCS-PA
webpage at: http://www.pa.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/Environmental_Compliance/index.html

SOIL
Soil   Erosion       Sheet and Rill
Soil   Erosion       Ephemeral Gully
Soil   Erosion       Streambank
Soil   Erosion       Other- other soil erosion concerns that need to be considered (if applicable) include classic gully; irrigation induced;
                     mass movement; and road/roadside/construction.
Soil Condition       Organic Matter Depletion
Soil Condition       Compaction
Soil Condition       Other - other soil condition concerns that need to be considered (if applicable) include contaminants-salts and other
                     chemicals, contaminants-animal waste and other organics, contaminants-commercial fertilizer, contaminants-residual
                     pesticides; and damage from soil deposition.
WATER
Water Quantity       Excessive Subsurface Water
Water Quantity       Excessive Seepage
Water Quantity       Excessive Runoff, Flooding, or Ponding

Water   Quality      Surface Water Harmful Levels of Pesticides
Water   Quality      Groundwater      Harmful Levels of Pesticides
Water   Quality      Surface Water Excessive Nutrients & Organics
Water   Quality      Groundwater      Excessive Nutrients & Organics
Water   Quality      Surface Water Excessive Suspended Sediment & Turbidity
Water   Quality      Surface Water Harmful Temperature
Water   Quality      Surface Water Harmful Levels of Pathogens
Water   Quality      Groundwater      Harmful Levels of Pathogens
Water   Quality      Other – other water quality concerns that need to be considered (if applicable) include surface/ground water-harmful
                     levels of petroleum.
AIR
Air Quality          Particulate Matter < 2.5 micrometers (PM 2.5) – only required for EPA PM 2.5 non-attainment counties (not
                     required for counties denoted as “in attainment” or “maintenance”) – for more information:
                     http://www.epa.gov/reg3artd/airquality/pm25nonattareas.htm
Air Quality          Excessive Ozone – only required for EPA 8 hr Ozone non-attainment counties (not required for counties
                     denoted as “in attainment” or “maintenance”) – for more information:
                     http://www.epa.gov/reg3artd/airquality/ozone8hrmaintareas_2.htm
Air Quality          Chemical Drift
Air Quality          Objectionable Odors
Air Quality          Other - other air resource concerns that need to be considered (if applicable) include excessive greenhouse gas-
                     methane, ammonia (NH3), undesirable air movement and adverse air temperature.
PLANTS
Plant Condition      Noxious & Invasive Plants
Plant Condition      Other – other plant resource concerns that need to be considered (if applicable) include plants not adapted or suited
                     to site; plant productivity, health and vigor; and impaired forage quality and palatability.
ANIMALS
Fish and Wildlife    Inadequate Cover/Shelter
Fish and Wildlife    Other– other F&W concerns that need to be considered (if applicable) include plant community fragmentation; and
                     imbalance among and within populations.

Domestic Animals Inadequate Quantities and Quality of Feed & Forage
Domestic Animals Inadequate Stock Water
Domestic Animals Other - other domestic animal concerns that need to be considered (if applicable) include; inadequate shelter; and
                     stress and mortality.
                                                              Attachment B
                                  Pennsylvania Supplemental Guidance
                              Special Environmental Concerns for Sections I/J
Clean Air Act           PA – Few farms in Pennsylvania are currently affected by the provisions that may require air quality permits. Note if the
                        producer is in an EPA air quality non-attainment county for the following pollutants (may use Not Applicable for
                        producers located in counties denoted as “in attainment” or “maintenance”):
                        Particulate Matter (PM 2.5): http://www.epa.gov/reg3artd/airquality/pm25nonattareas.htm
                        8-hour Ozone: http://www.epa.gov/reg3artd/airquality/ozone8hrmaintareas_2.htm
                        All planned practices should be in compliance with any farm specific requirements. State whether or not alternative
                        actions are in compliance.

                        Summary – EPA establishes National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for specific pollutants. If an agricultural
                        operation is found to cause or contribute to an exceedance of the NAAQS or is located in a non-attainment area,
                        additional regulatory controls may be mandated for the agricultural source. Air pollutants of most concern for
                        agriculture are ozone and particulate matter. EPA can delegate authority to states to develop State Implementation
                        Plans (SIPs). These SIPs generally include regulations regarding permits and standards for certain sources and
                        pollutants. Field planners should be aware that there may be requirements of individual SIPs that apply to agricultural
                        operations in their area and should inform the client of the potential for appropriate air quality permits they may need
                        prior to implementation of NRCS activities.

Clean Water Act -       PA – 1. NRCS assisted actions that potentially impact Waters of the U.S, including wetlands, or Special Aquatic Sites,
Waters of the U.S.      must be coordinated with PA DEP. Should advise landusers that dredge and fill activities in Waters of the U.S.,
Special Aquatic Sites   including wetlands, require a general permit or 404 permit. Must try to avoid dredge and fill activities in fish and wildlife
                        sanctuaries, wetlands, mud flats, vegetated shallows, and riffle-pool complexes. If special aquatic sites cannot be
                        avoided, impacts should be minimized and if necessary mitigated (40 CFR Part 230, Disposal Sites for Dredge and Fill).
                        Sometimes PA DEP can facilitate coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. NRCS may assist landowner in
                        developing a permit application, but the landowner must submit the application.
                        2. If the planned action or alternative is located in proximity to waters listed by the State as “impaired” under Section
                        303(d) of the Clean Water Act (CWA), the action should comply with any TMDLs or Watershed Restoration Action
                        Strategies (WRAS’s) developed for the watershed. In most cases, planned activities will be compatible with these plans
                        and should be so stated.
                        TMDLs are on PA DEP webpage at http://www.dep.state.pa.us/watermanagement_apps/tmdl/
                        WRASs are on PA DEP webpage at http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=554276&mode=2
                        3. Determine if the planned action or alternative is likely to result in point-source discharges from developments,
                        construction sites, or other areas of soil disturbance, or sewer discharges (e.g. projects involving stormwater ponds or
                        point-source pollution including CAFOs for which CNMPs are being developed). Section 402 of the CWA requires a
                        permit for these activities through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program which the
                        State administers.
Coastal Zone            PA - Applies to parts of the following counties: Erie, Bucks, Delaware and Philadelphia and the contributing
Management Areas        watershed areas under provisions of the Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Program Management Area. Compliance with
                        NRCS policies, planning procedures and technical standards will generally be consistent with the coastal plan.
                        For more info and boundary maps see: http://www.dep.state.pa.us/river/about/about.htm
Coral Reefs             PA - Not Applicable to Pennsylvania
Cultural Resources      PA - Follow the NRCS-Pennsylvania cultural resources review process. At this time, do not use the National Guide
                        Sheet.
                        Avoid adverse impacts to archaeological and historical resources unless no practicable alternative exists. Consultation
                        with the State Historic Preservation Officer required for any planned conservation practice that is "...classified as an
                        undertaking with the potential to affect". (420-GM, 401)
Endangered and          PA - Follow the NRCS-Pennsylvania PNDI review process. At this time, do not use the National Guide Sheet. Consult
Threatened Species      Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program, PNDI Project Planning Environmental Review at
                        http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/.
                        If planned action may have a direct or indirect effect (adverse, beneficial or insignificant), must consult with U.S. Fish
                        and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, PA Fish and Boat Commission, PA Game Commission or PA
                        Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources as appropriate.
                        Assistance will be consistent with the conservation of all federal and state listed endangered fish, wildlife, plants and
                        other protected species, their designated critical habitat. "Listing" includes federally proposed and candidate species
                        and state species of concern. Avoid or minimize adverse impacts. (190-GM, 410.22)




                                                                Page 128 of 134
Environmental Justice Summary – Must identify and address disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of
                      federally assisted activities on minority or low-income populations. (220-GM, 402)
Essential Fish Habitat   PA - None designated in Pennsylvania at this time. Applies to Delaware River and Chesapeake Bay basins.
                         Summary - Protects habitats essential to marine fishes for spawning, breeding, feeding or growth. Must consult with
                         National Marine Fisheries Service if adverse impacts.
Flood Plain              Summary - Actions should be encouraged to restore or preserve natural floodplain function and reduce the risk of flood
Management               loss. Determine if the planned action or alternative is likely to result in increased flood hazard, incompatible
                         development, or other adverse effect to the existing natural and beneficial values of the floodplain or lands adjacent or
                         downstream from the floodplain.
                         Avoid adverse impacts. If adverse impacts cannot be avoided they should be minimized, providing opportunities for
                         public review of plans. (190-GM, 410.25)

Invasive Species         Summary – Should not generally authorize, fund or carry out actions likely to result in the introduction or spread of
                         invasive species. Inventory invasive species, inform clients of presence, and provide assistance to address issues.
                         (GM 190, Part 414) (EO 13112)
Migratory Birds / Bald   Summary – Should avoid adverse impacts to migratory birds, including Bald and Golden Eagles. Avoid actions that
and Golden Eagles        result in any migratory bird or their parts (including eggs, nests, feathers) being pursued, hunted, taken, captured,
                         possessed, traded, or killed. Migratory birds include all native wild birds found in the United States except the house
                         sparrow, starling, feral pigeon, and resident game birds such as pheasant, grouse, quail, and wild turkeys (EO 13186;
                         50 CFR 10.13).
                         Avoid actions that will result in the take, possession, sale, purchase, barter, or offer to sell, purchase, or barter, export
                         or import "of any bald or golden eagle, alive or dead, including any part, nest, or egg, unless allowed by permit".
Prime and Unique         Summary - Should minimize the unnecessary and irreversible conversion of farmland to non-agricultural uses and
Farmlands                determine how planned actions will affect important (prime, unique, statewide & locally important) farmland.
                         Construction of on-farm buildings and structures necessary for farm operations are not considered conversion to non-
                         agricultural uses. Conversion and adverse impacts should be avoided or minimized. (310-GM, 403)
Riparian Area            Summary - Plans involving riparian area management must maintain or improve water quality and quantity benefits.
                         (190-GM, 411)
Sole Source Aquifers     PA - only applies to the Seven Valleys Aquifer in York County (50 FR 9126) and the New Jersey Coastal Plain Aquifer
                         which includes the stream flow source zone within two miles of the Delaware River in Delaware, Philadelphia, Bucks,
                         Monroe, Northampton, Pike and Wayne Counties (53 FR 23791).
                         Federal financially-assisted projects which have the potential to contaminate the designated sole source aquifer are
                         subject to US EPA review. Examples of federally funded projects which have been reviewed by EPA under the SSA
                         protection program include construction projects that involve disposal of storm water and agricultural projects that
                         involve management of animal waste. For information on projects requiring review, communicate with the environmental
                         contact listed on the NRCS-PA Environmental Compliance webpage:
                         http://www.pa.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/Environmental_Compliance/index.html
                         For more info on Sole Source Aquifers see:
                         http://www.epa.gov/safewater/sourcewater/pubs/qrg_ssamap_reg3.pdf
Wetlands                 PA – Follow the NRCS-Pennsylvania wetland review procedures. At this time, do not use the National Guide Sheet. If
                         impacts cannot be avoided, must involve PA DEP. Sometimes PA DEP can facilitate any needed coordination with the
                         U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. NRCS may assist landowner in developing a permit application, but the landowner must
                         submit the application.
                         Avoid undertakings in wetland. If wetland cannot be avoided, impacts should be minimized and if necessary mitigated.
                         Consult with PA DEP and U.S Army Corps of Engineers if necessary. (190-GM, 410.26)
Wild and Scenic          PA - See DCNR website http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/brc/rivers/scenicrivers/
Rivers
                         Summary - Federally assisted actions should be compatible with management plan in designated waters, unless no
                         practicable alternative exists.




                                                                 Page 129 of 134
                                                      Attachment C
                  Categorically Excluded Actions for Sections Q & R.2
                               NEPA Compliance Finding

Categorically Excluded – NRCS soil survey, snow survey, plant materials, inventory & monitoring, PL 83-566
river basin studies, policy development, administrative functions, education/information and advisory services are
categorically excluded and do not require further environmental analysis in Pennsylvania.
Although, all conservation planning and implementation require development of a CPA-52, the following 21
activities are categorically excluded from further environmental analyses. Therefore no environmental assessments
and no environmental impact statements are required for the 21 activities.

If the entire planned action is listed as one or more of the following 21 categorically excluded activities and there
are no Extraordinary Circumstances identified in the CPA-52, Section O, then check the box finding that the
activity is categorically excluded.

Use of the 21 categorical exclusions is not applicable for:
      ●     Mixed Actions: If a planned action involves activities listed as Categorically Excluded along with other
            actions that are not included in this list, NRCS may not find the action as Categorically Excluded.
      ●     Segmenting: NRCS cannot look at the planned actions individually if they are interdependent parts of the
            plan. This would be construed as “segmenting” an action into smaller component parts to avoid the
            requisite and appropriate level of environmental review under NEPA.

For the following categorical exclusions to apply, the proposed action must:
(i)   Be designed to mitigate soil erosion, sedimentation, and downstream flooding;
(ii) Require disturbed areas to be vegetated with adapted species that are neither invasive nor noxious;
(iii) Be based on current Federal principals of natural stream dynamics and processes, such as those presented in
      the Federal Interagency Stream Corridor Restoration Working Group document, ‘‘Stream Corridor
      Restoration, Principles, Processes, and Practices” (http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/stream_restoration/);
(iv) Incorporate the applicable NRCS conservation practice standards as found in the Field Office Technical
      Guide (http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/efotg/);
(v) Not require substantial dredging, excavation, or placement of fill; and
(vi) Not involve a significant risk of exposure to toxic or hazardous substances.

The use of the following categorical exclusions for a proposed action does not waive NRCS compliance with any
applicable legal requirement including, but not limited to, the National Historical Preservation Act or the
Endangered Species Act.

21 Categorical Exclusions -

(1)       Planting appropriate herbaceous and woody vegetation, which does not include noxious weeds or invasive
          plants, on disturbed sites to restore and maintain the sites ecological functions and services;

(2)       Removing dikes and associated appurtenances (such as culverts, pipes, valves, gates, and fencing) to allow
          waters to access floodplains to the extent that existed prior to the installation of such dikes and associated
          appurtenances;

(3)       Plugging and filling excavated drainage ditches to allow hydrologic conditions to return to pre-drainage
          conditions to the extent practicable;




                                                               Page 130 of 134
(4)   Replacing and repairing existing culverts, grade stabilization, and water control structures and other small
      structures that were damaged by natural disasters where there is no new depth required and only minimal
      dredging, excavation, or placement of fill is required;

(5)   Restoring the natural topographic features of agricultural fields that were altered by farming and ranching
      activities for the purpose of restoring ecological processes;

(6)   Removing or relocating residential, commercial, and other public and private buildings and associated
      structures constructed in the 100-year floodplain or within the breach inundation area of an existing dam or
      other flood control structure in order to restore natural hydrologic conditions of inundation or saturation,
      vegetation, or reduce hazards posed to public safety;

(7)   Removing storm debris and sediment following a natural disaster where there is a continuing and eminent
      threat to public health or safety, property, and natural and cultural resources and removal is necessary to
      restore lands to pre-disaster conditions to the extent practicable. Excavation will not exceed the pre-disaster
      condition;

(8)   Stabilizing stream banks and associated structures to reduce erosion through bioengineering techniques
      following a natural disaster to restore pre-disaster conditions to the extent practicable, e.g., utilization of
      living and nonliving plant materials in combination with natural and synthetic support materials, such as
      rocks, riprap, geo-textiles, for slope stabilization, erosion reduction, and vegetative establishment and
      establishment of appropriate plant communities (bank shaping and planting, brush mattresses, log, root wad,
      and boulder stabilization methods);

(9)   Repairing or maintenance of existing small structures or improvements (including structures and
      improvements utilized to restore disturbed or altered wetland, riparian, in stream, or native habitat
      conditions). Examples of such activities include the repair or stabilization of existing stream crossings for
      livestock or human passage, levees, culverts, berms, dikes, and associated appurtenances;

(10) Constructing small structures or improvements for the restoration of wetland, riparian, in stream, or native
     habitats. Examples of activities include installation of fences and construction of small berms, dikes, and
     associated water control structures;

(11) Restoring an ecosystem, fish and wildlife habitat, biotic community, or population of living resources to a
     determinable pre-impact condition;

(12) Repairing or maintenance of existing constructed fish passageways, such as fish ladders or spawning areas
     impacted by natural disasters or human alteration;

(13) Repairing, maintaining, or installing fish screens to existing structures;

(14) Repairing or maintaining principal spillways and appurtenances associated with existing serviceable dams,
     originally constructed to NRCS standards, in order to meet current safety standards. Work will be confined
     to the existing footprint of the dam, and no major change in reservoir or downstream operations will result;

(15) Repairing or improving (deepening/widening/armoring) existing auxiliary/emergency spillways associated
     with dams, originally constructed to NRCS standards, in order to meet current safety standards. Work will be
     confined to the dam or abutment areas, and no major change in reservoir or downstream operation will result;

(16) Repairing embankment slope failures on structures, originally built to NRCS standards, where the work is
      confined to the embankment or abutment areas;




                                                            Page 131 of 134
(17) Increasing the freeboard (which is the height from the auxiliary (emergency) spillway crest to the top of
     embankment) of an existing dam or dike, originally built to NRCS standards, by raising the top elevation in
     order to meet current safety and performance standards. The purpose of the safety standard and associated
     work is to ensure that during extreme rainfall events, flows are confined to the auxiliary/emergency spillway
     so that the existing structure is not overtopped which may result in a catastrophic failure. Elevating the top of
     the dam will not result in an increase to lake or stream levels. Work will be confined to the existing dam and
     abutment areas, and no major change in reservoir operations will result. Examples of work may include the
     addition of fill material such as earth or gravel or placement of parapet walls;

(18) Modifying existing residential, commercial, and other public and private buildings to prevent flood damages,
     such as elevating structures or sealing basements to comply with current State safety standards and Federal
     performance standards;

(19) Undertaking minor agricultural practices to maintain and restore ecological conditions in floodplains after a
     natural disaster or on lands impacted by human alteration. Examples of these practices include: mowing,
     haying, grazing, fencing, offstream watering facilities, and invasive species control which are undertaken
     when fish and wildlife are not breeding, nesting, rearing young, or during other sensitive timeframes;

(20) Implementing soil control measures on existing agricultural lands, such as grade stabilization structures (pipe
     drops), sediment basins, terraces, grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian forest buffer, and critical area
     planting; and

(21) Implementing water conservation activities on existing agricultural lands, such as minor irrigation land
     leveling, irrigation water conveyance (pipelines), irrigation water control structures, and various management
     practices.




                                                           Page 132 of 134
                                                     National Environmental Compliance Handbook



RESOURCE CONSIDERATIONS (Optional)                                                            Client/Plan Information:
Field Inventory Guide Sheet

Identify the resource concern(s) that need to be addressed and
the assessment tool(s) used for the evaluation.
     Erosion                           Classic Gully           Irrigation Induced                              Other:
               Sheet and Rill                         Streambank                   Mass Movement              Other:
               Wind                                   Shoreline                    Road, Road Sides & Construction Sites
               Ephemeral Gully
 SOIL




           Condition                                  Subsidence
               Organic Matter Depletion               Contaminants-Salts & Other Chemicals                     Contaminants-Residual Pesticides
               Rangeland Site Stability               Contaminants-Animal Waste & Other Organics               Damage from Soil Deposition
                                                      Contaminants-Commercial Fertilizer
               Compaction
                  Assessment tools,
                  Problems & Notes:
           Quantity                                                           Quality
               Excessive Seepage                                                   Harmful Levels of Pesticides in Groundwater
               Excessive Runoff, Flooding, or Ponding                              Excessive Nutrients and Organics in Groundwater
               Excessive Subsurface Water                                          Excessive Salinity in Groundwater
               Drifted Snow                                                        Harmful Levels of Heavy Metals in Groundwater
               Inadequate Outlets                                                  Harmful Levels of Pathogens in Groundwater
               Inefficient Water Use on Irrigated Land                             Harmful Levels of Petroleum in Groundwater
 WATER




               Inefficient Water Use on Non-irrigated Land                         Harmful Levels of Pesticides in Surface Water
               Reduced Capacity of Conveyances by Sediment                         Excessive Nutrients and Organics in Surface Water
               Deposition                                                          Excessive Suspended Sediment & Turbidity in Surface Water
               Reduced Storage of Water Bodies by Sediment                         Excessive Salinity in Surface Water
               Accumulation                                                        Harmful Levels of Heavy Metals in Surface Water
               Aquifer Overdraft                                                   Harmful Temperatures of Surface Water
               Insufficient Flows in Water Courses                                 Harmful Levels of Pathogens in Surface Water
               Rangeland Hydrologic Cycle                                          Harmful Levels of Petroleum in Surface Water
               Other:
                   Assessment tools,
                   Problems & Notes:
           Quality                                                                           Ammonia (NH3)
               Particulate matter less than 10 micrometers in diameter                       Chemical Drift           Other:
               Particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter                      Objectionable Odors      Other:
               Excessive Ozone                                                               Reduced Visibility
 AIR




               Excessive Greenhouse Gas - CO2                                                Undesirable Air Movement
               Excessive Greenhouse Gas - N2O                                                Adverse Air Temperature
               Excessive Greenhouse Gas - CH4
                   Assessment tools,
                   Problems & Notes:
               Plants are not adapted or suited                               Declining Species, Species of Concern
 PLANTS




           Condition                                                          Productivity, Health and Vigor
               Impared Forage Quality and Palatability                        Noxious and Invasive Plants               Wildfire Hazard
               Threatened or Endangered Species                                                                         Other:
                   Assessment tools,
                  Problems & Notes:
           Fish and Wildlife                                                  Domestic Animals
               Inadequate Food               Inadequate Water                      Inadequate Quantities and Quality of Feed & Forage
 ANIMALS




               Inadequate Cover/Shelter                                            Inadequate Shelter
               Inadequate Space                                                    Inadequate Stock Water
               Plant Community Fragmentation                                       Stress and Mortality
               Imbalance Among and Within Populations
               Threatened and Endangered Species                                   Other:
               Declining Species, Species of Concern                               Other:
                     Assessment tools,
                     Problems & Notes:



                                                         190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010
                        National Environmental Compliance Handbook




Return to NRCS-CPA-52




Return to NRCS-CPA-52




                          190-VI-NECH, Final Second Edition, 2010

				
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