Comments on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 1981 Program Report and Environmental Impact Statement

CED-82-41: Published: Jan 29, 1982. Publicly Released: Jan 29, 1982.

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In response to the Secretary of Agriculture's request for comments, GAO reviewed the revised draft report outlining the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) proposed national soil and water conservation program.

Although USDA has spent considerable effort in reviewing the adequacy of the nation's soil and water resources, it will not have the basis for the effective program intended by the Soil and Water Resources Conservation Act until it: (1) conducts a thorough assessment of soil and water resource conditions to better define the problem; (2) evaluates sufficient alternatives for conserving U.S. soil and water resources; (3) analyzes the impact of other Government programs on soil and water resources to ensure the best use of limited resources; and (4) avoids duplication of effort among Federal agencies. The proposed program could be an ineffective and costly solution, and a better analytical framework is needed to meet the requirements of the Act. GAO provided guidelines that could assist USDA in obtaining information needed to develop an effective program to improve resource conditions within limited budget resources.

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