NB_440_21_17 - NB 440-21-17 PGM - Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) Transition Strategy
NB 440-21-17 PGM - Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) Transition Strategy
National Bulletin: NB 440-21-17    Date: April, 28, 2021  
Subject: PGM - Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) Transition Strategy  

Purpose.   Announce transition strategy for CAPs for fiscal year (FY) 2022.     
Expiration Date.   September 30, 2021   
Background.   CAPs are plans developed by Technical Service Providers through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). CAPs are being updated to better align with our conservation planning process.         

Explanation.   For FY 2022, CAPs will be repackaged and organized into three types; the first type for resource assessment and developing conservation plan components (Steps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 of our conservation planning process), the second type for conservation practice design or implementation requirements (Step 8), and the third type related to assessing or monitoring resource conditions or evaluating the effectiveness of conservation practice implementation (Step 9). The three types of conservation activities are listed below:

• Conservation Planning Activities (CPA): These activities are typically performed in Steps 1-7 of the conservation planning process, which includes the inventory of natural resources and analysis of resource data, formulating and evaluating alternative systems, and documenting the client’s decisions as a component conservation plan. CPAs will include primary practices that treat a resource concern and may also include supporting practices.

• Design and Implementation Activity (DIA): These activities, which are typically performed in Step 8 of the conservation planning process, include developing specific practice designs, management prescriptions, or other instructions to implement a selected conservation system. DIAs may include additional supporting practices needed to facilitate the practice being implemented.

• Conservation Evaluation and Monitoring Activities (CEMA): These activities include assessment, monitoring, recordkeeping for a special purpose, requirements, or determining the effectiveness of conservation practices and activities. CEMAs are typically performed in Step 9 of the conservation planning process; however, they may be used at any point in the planning process.

Examples of CPAs:
• Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan CPA – 102
• Forest Management Plan CPA – 106
• Soil Health Management Plan CPA – 116
• Conservation Plan Supporting Organic Transition CPA – 138
• Conservation Plan – 199

Examples of DIAs:
• Nutrient Management DIA – 157 (practice 590 Nutrient Management)
• Feed Management DIA – 158 (practice 592 Feed Management)
• Prescribed Burning DIA – 160 (practice 338 Prescribed Burning)

Notes: Most DIAs will correspond to a practice code as these examples illustrate.

DIAs can also be used for systems of practices, such as Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (DIA 101) or Forest Management Plan (DIA 165).

Example of CEMA:
• Agriculture Energy Assessment Activity

For FY 2021, NRCS will begin transitioning to the new strategy by developing any new CAPs, design and implementation requirements, or evaluation and monitoring activities according to the new strategy. The full implementation of this strategy and a revised process for Conservation Desktop (CD) and Conservation Assessment Ranking Tool (CART) will be provided in FY 2022 through a national instruction.

During FY 2021, NRCS field offices will continue to administer CAPs using the same guidance as FY 2020.  

Contact.   Direct questions concerning the use of CAPs in CD and CART to Eric McTaggart at eric.mctaggart@usda.gov. Direct general questions about CAPs/CPAs to Breanna Barlow at breanna.barlow@usda.gov.      


 Deputy Chief for Programs   

 Deputy Chief for Science and Technology

[NB_440_21_17 - ]