University of Maryland Extension

An Overview of the Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool

The Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool (RSET) is a new and voluntary service in conservation planning that evaluates an operation’s current conservation and management practices and compares them against science-based stewardship thresholds for five overarching natural resource concerns that evaluate the health of soil, water quality and quantity, air quality and wildlife habitat.

The results of the evaluation are provided in an easy-to-read graph showing how producers' decisions affect the well-being of the natural resources under their care. Each individual producer can then see where their operation lies on the spectrum with regard to those specific resource concerns—whether that’s meeting the threshold, exceeding it, or identifying opportunities for improvements. RSET is a useful tool for recognizing current stewardship and conservation achievements, as well as identifying opportunities to improve conservation.

By using this tool, NRCS can help answer field-specific questions for a producer, such as:

·        How is the operation faring in terms of reducing erosion and increasing soil organic matter?

·        How is the operation doing with water management and preventing nutrient run-off?

·        What about curbing net greenhouse gas emissions and opportunities for improving habitat for wildlife?

 

Presenter: USDA NRCS

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