The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Originally established by Congress in 1935 as the Soil Conservation Service to combat "the wastage of soil and moisture resources on farm, grazing, and forest lands . . . “, the NRCS has expanded to work with landowners through conservation planning and financial assistance designed to help them conserve, maintain and improve their natural resources. The Agency emphasizes voluntary, science-based conservation; technical assistance; partnerships; incentive-based programs; and cooperative problem solving at the community level. The NRCS contributes to conservation assistance through millions of dollars to conservation assistance through their various financial assistance programs and conservation planning efforts.
The NRCS complies with the National Historic Preservation Act using the process established under the regulations as well as an alternate procedure developed in consultation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. This alternate procedure is the Prototype Programmatic Agreement, authorized on November 21, 2014.
The NHPA’s implementing regulations at 36 CFR Part 800.2(c)(2)(ii)(E) allow an Indian tribe or a Native Hawaiian organization (NHO) to enter into an agreement with an agency official that specifies how they will carry out their consultation responsibilities.
NRCS has been working with Native American Tribes through its Tribal Liaison Program since the 1980's. The NRCS has shown commitment to this program by increasing it is staffing over the last decade.
NRCS has also developed procedures for use in declared emergencies and disasters.