United States Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service
National Employee Development Center Go to Accessibility Information
Skip to Page Content
environmental conservation

Environmental Compliance for Conservation Assistance - Level 1


This is Level One of the Environmental Compliance for Conservation Assistance Training Series offered by the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  Level One provides employees and TSPs with an awareness of the environmental requirements related to conservation planning for both program and project activities and how to address those requirements. The course describes the environmental evaluation process, the documentation of that process, and how the environmental evaluation aids NRCS in meeting the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and other environmental requirements. Level One will not equip you to perform the job out in the field.  You should follow this training with the field-based conservation planning training provided by your NRCS State Office. Levels two and three of the Environmental Compliance for Conservation Assistance are designed to provide you additional training for those who need to develop procedures to deal with the issues of environmental compliance in conservation planning or will be developing NEPA documents or biological assessments.

Level 1 of this training series contains four parts, which cover the background and framework for environmental compliance. These parts and their modules are:

This level on the NRCS National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Process contains the following modules:

  • Part One: Understanding NEPA and the Environmental Evaluation Process
    • Module 1 - NEPA Overview
    • Module 2 - NRCS NEPA Policy
    • Module 3 - NRCS NEPA Responsibilities
    • Module 4 - Environmental Evaluation and NEPA
  • Part Two: Identifying Special Environmental Concerns During the Environmental Evaluation
    • Module 5 - Overview of Special Environmental Concerns
    • Module 6 - Addressing Special Environmental Concerns and Documenting Compliance
  • Part Three: Completing the CPA-52, "Environmental Evaluation Worksheet"
    • Module 7 - Client’s Objective and Purpose and Need
    • Module 8 - Developing Alternatives
    • Module 9 - Evaluating and Documenting Findings
    • Module 10 - Environmental Evaluation Findings
  • Part Four: The Endangered Species Act
    • Module 11 - Overview of ESA Law and NRCS Policy
    • Module 12 - Conducting an Environmental Evaluation for E&T Species
    • Module 13 - Complying with Endangered and Threatened Species Requirements
    • Module 14 - Application of Consultation and Conferencing

A supplemental resource page is available that lists the resources linked in the training plus others that will aid in your learning even more about the subject of environmental compliance.

You will encounter review questions throughout the program.  These questions relate to the most significant portions of the content.

A test will be administered at the end of the training.  You must answer 80% of the questions correctly to meet the prerequisites for Environmental Compliance for Conservation Assistance - Level 2 and ultimately receive credit for this training.

If you have any questions or comments about the course contents please direct them to Andrée DuVarney in the Ecological Sciences Division. Please direct questions that are specific to state policy or operations to the appropriate personnel in your state.

If you experience problems with linked sites, downloading documents or other issues with the operation of the program, please contact the NEDC Webmaster.

You may be required to participate in field training offered by the state in which you work to further refine your knowledge and skills in environmental compliance.  You should check with the appropriate person in your state for that information.

If you are completing this training as a Technical Service Provider (TSP) and do not have a USDA eGovernment USER ID, please review the requirements and procedures at TechReg.

To proceed through this program select next page below.