Review of Effectiveness of Land Treatment Agreements in Watershed Areas

Gao ID: CED-77-13 December 27, 1976

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.


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