The National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) is required to conduct an Environmental Evaluation (EE) for all conservation plans. One of the special environmental concerns assessed on the evaluation form is the proximity to Natural Areas. This is where PAD-US applies. “Every day, NRCS field office staff across the U.S. fill out this form for any project, whether it be a waterway, grazing system, feedlot, prescribed burning, restored wetland, etc. So, PAD-US is used daily nationwide for a portion of this EE process.” Christiane Roy, NRCS/USDA.
NRCS is now considering the addition of PAD-US to a new web-based Conservation and Assessment Ranking Tool (CART) developed to support NRCS planners (in field offices across the nation) working with farmers and ranchers to address resource concerns based on the vulnerability of their land. NRCS is working to improve geospatial data in CART to improve the efficiency of environmental evaluations for conservation planners. PAD-US has been identified by the planning team as a valuable source of aggregated data to streamline CART updates. NRCS Staff were impressed with the broad organizational network supporting the PAD-US system.