Review of Effectiveness of Land Treatment Agreements in Watershed Areas

CED-77-13: Published: Dec 27, 1976. Publicly Released: Dec 27, 1976.

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Representative Don H. Clausen requested a review to determine if the Soil Conservation Service was properly administering section 4(5) of the amended Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act. A pilot review of a watershed project was undertaken to determine if recommended soil conservation measures agreed to by landowners had been installed. Visits were made to about half the farms in the project which were in compliance with section 4(5) of the act to observe the soil conservation measures which had been carried out.

The provision of the act, requiring that not less than 50 percent of the lands above the retention reservoir be under conservation agreements as a condition to providing Federal assistance, was not met by the Service. Cooperative agreements were obtained from owners of only about 47 percent of the land in the drainage area above the reservoir. Some recommended soil conservation measures had not been implemented; however, Service officials believed the failure to implement these practices had not resulted in an adverse impact on the watershed project. The Service's handbook conflicts with requirements in the act for determining whether projects are eligible for Federal financial assistance for constructing dams and other works of improvement.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should require the Administrator of the Soil Conservation Service to: (1) revise its Administrative Services Handbook to conform to the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act concerning the 50 percent requirement; and (2) emphasize to its field offices the importance of determining the exact eligible acreage under agreements in making their certifications.

    Agency Affected:


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