U.S. Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (DOA) works with landowners to maintain the productive capacity of their land while helping them to protect soil, water, forests and other natural resources. The department conducts a large part of this work through two of its agencies: the Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The Forest Service is charged with the oversight of 191 million acres of federal land. In advancing its pollution-control efforts, the Forest Service relies on a number of practices to inhibit air, land, and water pollution, including erosion and flood control, timber-harvesting methods to protect water bodies, and the minimization of pollution created by natural resource extraction. It also invokes a number of laws (the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and National Forest Management Act) to penalize individuals or industries operating contrary to its efforts. The NRCS oversees pollution management of U.S. agricultural and range lands. Such management is conducted cooperatively with farmers, ranchers, and landowners who utilize technical assistance provided by the NRCS to address such things as the environmental effects of pesticides on agricultural and ranch lands. Among the programs that the NRCS has jurisdiction over are the Natural Resources Inventory, Rural Abandoned Mines, and Wetlands Reserve Program. A number of countries, including Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, and Spain, have taken the DOA's lead in conducting similar pollution control activities.


Internet Resources

U.S. Department of Agriculture Web site. Available at www.usda.gov/energyandenvironment/faq.html .

U.S. Forest Service Web site. Available at www.fs.fed.us .

Robert F. Gruenig

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