Written by: Matt Engberg, Forester, NMI
When it comes to programs sponsored by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Northwest Management, Inc. (NMI) has certified Technical Service Providers (TSP) that can answer program and cost-share questions, and write NRCS approved Conservation Activity Plans.
Technical Service Providers are individuals, entities or public agencies certified by the NRCS and placed on the approved list to provide technical services to the agency’s conservation program participants. TSPs plan, design, implement and certify conservation practices before any planning or contracting begins. NRCS and conservation districts have traditionally provided these technical services, and will continue to do so. What’s new is that USDA will reimburse producers for technical assistance provided by certified Technical Service Providers. NRCS maintains quality assurance of TSP-completed conservation practices and services on an annual basis.
Over this past year several NMI resource professionals acquired special training from the NRCS in areas that included Environmental Compliance, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), as well as identification and documentation of cultural resources, all key elements in design and development for conservation planning and practice implementation. Other courses taken were a number of Conservation Planning and Forestry Planning courses, along with a TSP Orientation course, all necessary to qualify for development of Conservation Activity Plans (CAP). In general, a CAP is a specialized conservation practice(s) plan that may require a higher level of expertise than typical NRCS staff is able to provide and does not fall under the regular technical assistance provided by NRCS. Although, NMI Resource professionals write many different types of management and/or stewardship plans, the training helps the private resource professional understand all the paperwork and options involved with an NRCS contract, and how it ultimately fits together for the landowner; our mutual client with the NRCS.
NMI can help Landowners in the design, layout, implementation, and checkout of the following practices in Idaho, Washington, Montana, Oregon, Wyoming, and Colorado:
- CAP – Forest Management Plan: All Services
- Forestry: Forest Site Preparation, Forest Stand Improvement, Forest Trails and Landings, Prescribed Burning, Riparian Forest Buffer, Silvopasture Establishment, Tree/Shrub Establishment, Tree/Shrub Pruning, Use Exclusion
- Prescribed Burning: Firebreak, Prescribed Burning
- AgroForestry: Alley Cropping, Riparian Forest Buffer, Silvopasture Establishment, Windbreak/Shelterbelt Establishment, Windbreak/Shelterbelt Renovation
At this time NMI is one of very few private TSP’s in Idaho Certified to write an NRCS approved Conservation Activity Plan (CAP)-Forest Management Plan. There are a number of private and public agency registered TSP’s that can design, implement, and checkout practices which have been cost-shared through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) or another NRCS Program.
For more information regarding the availability of resource professionals under the TSP program contact NMI and/or your local NRCS field office.