NB_440_19_17 - NB 440-19-17 PGM – Easement Boundary Reestablishment Survey Processes
NB 440-19-17 PGM – Easement Boundary Reestablishment Survey Processes
National Bulletin: 440-19-17   Date:  May 16, 2019  
Subject: PGM- Easement Boundary Reestablishment Survey Processes

Purpose.  This bulletin notifies NRCS State offices that they are not to engage in or proceed with any new or current contracts for reestablishment surveys on easement boundaries on stewardship lands without further guidance and approval from Easement Programs Division (EPD).     
Expiration Date.   September 30, 2019   

Explanation.  Going forward NRCS will use consistent methods to verify and document the need for reestablishment surveys on NRCS held stewardship lands. Since NRCS is required to report on the condition of more than 18,300 stewardship land easements and monitor these easements for violations of their terms, we recognize the importance of easement boundary identification as necessary for monitoring. However, acquisition of a boundary reestablishment survey has a fiscal and staff cost and should only be obtained once the need for it has been verified and documented using consistent methodology. The method of verification will include intermediate steps and criteria that can be met to possibly resolve questions about boundaries in lieu of obtaining reestablishment surveys when appropriate. 

EPD is developing a formal business process that will utilize risk management techniques, decision templates, case file documents, recorded documents, field observations, and other tools that will be required to assist States in determining whether NRCS needs to acquire a reestablishment survey. This business process will be forthcoming. 

Until further notice and publication of the formal business process by EPD, all reestablishment survey activity must be put on hold. States are no longer authorized to use allocated funding, including Agricultural Conservation Easement Program and repealed easement program funding, to secure any type of reestablishment survey work without official approval from EPD. This includes any work planned to be contracted or currently under contract with these funds. 


For any work already under contract, EPD approval should be obtained prior to issuing any new task orders or proceeding with projects where fieldwork has not begun. To request this approval, the information listed below must be submitted to EasementSupport@wdc.usda.gov:    

  • Shapefile and associated files for the easement boundary and ingress and egress route (if applicable)

  • Recorded warranty easement deed

  • Final title policy  

  • Rational for the determination to have the reestablishment survey (this should include any specific concerns the State has pertaining to the easement boundary)

  • Violation timeline and history for violations or perceived violations that impact the easement boundary (violations internal to the easement that do not impact the easement boundary are not needed)

  • Maps, sketches, notes, correspondence, etc. from the official case file and the local field office file that pertain to the easement boundary or to the intent of the easement boundary from the time of enrollment and acquisition                                                

The formalization of the new business process will be a cooperative and iterative effort between National Headquarters and the individual State offices to investigate, verify, validate, document and improve the processes with which NRCS acquires reestablishment surveys. This strategy for the development of a formal business process is strictly related to NRCS improving our role in the stewardship of the easement portfolio held by the agency and to further enhance our business needs and processes.  

Contact.   Any questions pertaining to this bulletin should be directed to John Glover, Land Stewardship and Programs Branch chief, at john.glover@wdc.usda.gov; Greg Pipkin, land stewardship specialist, at greg.pipkin@wdc.usda.gov; or Tate Jenkins, realty specialist, at tate.jenkins@wdc.usda.gov.   



Deputy Chief for Programs

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