Title 7

SECTION 1466.4

1466.4 National priorities.

§ 1466.4 National priorities.

(a) The national priorities in paragraphs (a)(1) through (8) of this section, consistent with statutory resources concerns, include soil quality, water quality and quantity, plants, energy, wildlife habitat, air quality, increased weather volatility, and related natural resource concerns, that may be used in EQIP implementation are:

(1) Reductions of nonpoint source pollution, such as nutrients, sediment, pesticides, or excess salinity in impaired watersheds consistent with total maximum daily loads (TMDL) where available;

(2) The reduction of ground and surface water contamination;

(3) The reduction of contamination from agricultural sources, such as animal feeding operations;

(4) Conservation of ground and surface water resources, including improvement of irrigation efficiency and increased resilience against drought and weather volatility;

(5) Reduction of emissions, such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and ozone precursors and depleters that contribute to air quality impairment violations of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards;

(6) Reduction in soil erosion and sedimentation from unacceptable levels and improvement of soil health on eligible land;

(7) Promotion of at-risk species habitat conservation including development and improvement of wildlife habitat; and

(8) Energy conservation to help save fuel, improve efficiency of water use, maintain production, and protect soil and water resources by more efficiently using fertilizers and pesticides.

(b) In consultation with other Federal agencies and Indian Tribes, NRCS may undertake periodic reviews of the national priorities and the effects of program delivery at the State and local levels to adapt the program to address emerging resource issues. NRCS may -

(1) Use the national priorities to guide the allocation of EQIP funds to the NRCS State offices;

(2) Use the national priorities in conjunction with States, Indian Tribes, and local priorities to assist with prioritization and selection of EQIP applications; and

(3) Periodically review and update the national priorities utilizing input from the public, Indian Tribes, other Federal and State agencies, and affected stakeholders to ensure that the program continues to address priority resource concerns.

[84 FR 69280, Dec. 17, 2019, as amended at 85 FR 67647, Oct. 26, 2020]