United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service
Conservation Planning Support System

What is the Conservation Planning Support System?

This web site provides an automated way to achieve the process that NRCS uses to assist clients (individuals, groups, and units of government) in developing, implementing, and evaluating conservation plans on agricultural lands, urban areas, or other land uses.

What is Conservation Planning?

Conservation planning is a natural resource problem solving a management process. The process integrates economic, social (cultural resources are included with social), and ecological considerations to meet private and public needs. This approach, which emphasizes desired future conditions, helps improve natural resource management, minimize conflict, and address problems and opportunities.

What does Conservation Planning do?

Conservation planning helps clients, conservationists, and others view the environment as a living system of which humans are an integral part. Conservation planning enables clients and planners to analyze and work with complex natural processes in definable and measurable terms. The conservation planning process, as described in this web site, consists of nine steps divided into three phases.

Phase I - Collection and Analysis

  1. Identify Problems and Opportunities
  2. Determine Objectives
  3. Inventory Resources
  4. Analyze Resource Data
Phase II - Decision Support
  1. Formulate Alternatives
  2. Evaluate Alternatives
  3. Make Decision
Phase III - Application and Evaluation
  1. Implement the Plan
  2. Evaluate the Plan

Conservation planning is based on a desired future condition that is developed by the client for an individual conservation plan, or by the client and stakeholder, in the case of an area wide conservation plan or assessment encompassing a watershed or other defined area.

Southwest Watershed Research Center
Collection and Evaluation Decision Support Application and Evaluation