U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Jul 23, 2024

§ 1415.3 - Definitions.

Activity means an action other than a conservation practice that is included as a part of a GRP management or conservation plan that has the effect of alleviating problems or improving treatment of the resources, including ensuring proper management or maintenance of the functions and values restored, protected, or enhanced through an easement or rental contract.

Administrator means the Administrator of FSA or the person delegated authority to act for the Administrator.

Applicant means a person, legal entity, joint operator, or Indian Tribe who applies to participate in the program.

Chief means the Chief of NRCS or designee.

Biological diversity means the variety and variability among living organisms and the ecological complexes in which they live.

Commodity Credit Corporation is a government-owned and operated entity that was created to stabilize, support, and protect farm income and prices. The CCC is managed by a Board of Directors, subject to the general supervision and direction of the Secretary of Agriculture, who is an ex-officio director and chairperson of the Board. The CCC provides the funding for GRP, and FSA and NRCS administer GRP on its behalf.

Common grazing practices means those grazing practices, including those related to forage and seed production, common to the area of the subject ranching or farming operation. Included are routine management activities necessary to maintain the viability of forage or browse resources that are common to the locale of the subject ranching or farming operation.

Conservation district means any district or unit of State, Tribal, or local government formed under State, Tribal, or territorial law for the express purpose of developing and carrying out a local soil and water conservation program. Such district or unit of government may be referred to as a conservation district, soil conservation district, soil and water conservation district, resource conservation district, natural resource district, land conservation committee, or similar name.

Conservation plan means a record of the GRP participants' decisions and supporting information that will be developed to address resource concerns in addition to grazing land uses. The conservation plan will describe the implementation and maintenance of GRP management and conservation practices directly related to any additional land eligibility criteria under which the land is enrolled. Additional land eligibility criteria may include, but is not limited to, significant animal or plant habitat and historical or archeological resources.

Conservation practice means a specified treatment, such as a vegetative, structural, or land management practice, that is planned and applied according to NRCS Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG) standards and specifications.

Conservation values means those natural resource attributes that sustain and enhance ecosystem functions and values of the grassland area including, but not limited to, habitat for grassland and shrubland dependent plants and animals, native plant and animal biodiversity, soil erosion control, forage production, and air and water quality protection.

Cost-share payment means the payment made by USDA to a program participant or vendor to achieve the restoration, enhancement, and protection goals in accordance with the GRP restoration plan component of the restoration agreement.

Dedicated account means a dedicated fund of the eligible entity held in a separate account for the management, monitoring, and enforcement of conservation easements and that cannot be used for other purposes.

Easement means a conservation easement, which is an interest in land defined and delineated in a deed whereby the landowner conveys certain rights, title, and interests in a property to the United States, an eligible entity, or both for the purpose of protecting the grassland and other conservation values of the property. Under GRP, the property rights are conveyed by a conservation easement deed.

Easement area means the land encumbered by an easement.

Easement payment means the consideration paid to a landowner for an easement conveyed to the United States, an eligible entity, or both under GRP.

Eligible entity means, for the purposes of entering into a cooperative agreement under 16 U.S.C. 3838q(d), an agency of State or local government, an Indian Tribe, or a nongovernmental organization that has the relevant experience necessary, as appropriate for the application, to administer an easement on grassland, land that contains forbs, or shrubland; has a charter that describes a commitment to conserving ranchland, agricultural land, or grassland for grazing and conservation purposes; and has the resources necessary to effectuate the purposes of the charter.

Enhancement means to increase or improve the viability of grassland and grazing resources, including habitat for declining species of grassland dependent birds and animals.

Farm Service Agency is an agency of the Department of Agriculture.

FSA State Executive Director means the FSA employee authorized to implement GRP and direct and supervise FSA activities in a State, Caribbean Area, or the Pacific Islands Area.

Field Office Technical Guide means the official local NRCS source of resource information and interpretations of guidelines, criteria, and requirements for planning and applying conservation practices and conservation management systems. It contains detailed information on the conservation of soil, water, air, plant, and animal resources applicable to the local area for which it is prepared.

Fire pre-suppression means activities as outlined in a GRP management plan such as the establishment and maintenance of firebreaks and prescribed burning to prevent or limit the spread of fires.

Forb means any herbaceous plant other than those in the grass family.

Functions and values of grasslands and shrublands means ecosystem services provided, including domestic animal productivity, biological productivity, plant and animal richness and diversity, fish and wildlife habitat (including habitat for pollinators and native insects), water quality and quantity benefits, aesthetics, open space, and recreation.

Grantor means the landowner who is transferring land rights to the United States or an eligible entity, or both through an easement.

Grassland means land on which the vegetation is dominated by grasses, grass-like plants, shrubs, or forbs, including shrubland, land that contains forbs, pastureland, and rangeland, and improved pastureland and rangeland.

GRP management plan means the document developed by NRCS that describes the implementation of the grazing management system consistent with the prescribed grazing standard contained in the FOTG. The GRP management plan will include a description of the grazing management system, permissible and prohibited activities, any associated restoration plan or conservation plan, if applicable, and a description of USDA's right of ingress and egress.

Grazing value means the financial worth of the land as used for grazing or forage production. The term is used in the calculation of compensation for rental contracts and easements. For easements, this value is determined by NRCS through an appraisal process or a market survey process. For rental contracts, FSA determines the grazing value based upon an administrative process.

Historical and archeological resources mean resources that are:

(1) Listed in the National Register of Historic Places (established under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), 16 U.S.C. 470, et seq.);

(2) Formally determined eligible for listing the National Register of Historic Places by the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) or Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) and Keeper of the National Register in accordance with section 106 or the NHPA);

(3) Formally listed in the State or Tribal Register of Historic Places of the SHPO (designated under section 101(b)(1)(B) of the NHPA) or the Tribal Register of Historic Places (designated under section 101(d)(1)(C) of the NHPA); or

(4) Included in the SPHO or THPO inventory with written justification as to why it meets National Register of Historic Places criteria.

Improved rangeland or pastureland means grazing land permanently producing naturalized forage species that receives varying degrees of periodic cultural treatment to enhance forage quality and yields and is primarily harvested by grazing animals.

Indian Tribe means any Indian Tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, including any Alaska Native village or regional or village corporation as defined in or established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) that is eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.

Landowner means a person, legal entity, or Indian Tribe having legal ownership of land and those who may be buying eligible land under a purchase agreement. The term landowner may include all forms of collective ownership including joint tenants, tenants-in-common, and life tenants. The term landowner includes Indian Tribes. State governments, local governments, and nongovernmental organizations that qualify as eligible entities are not eligible as landowners.

Legal entity means an entity created under Federal or State law and that: (1) Owns land or an agricultural commodity, product, or livestock; or (2) produces an agricultural commodity, product, or livestock.

Maintenance means work performed to keep the applied conservation practice functioning for the intended purpose during its life span. Maintenance includes work to manage and prevent deterioration, repair damage, or replace the practice to its original condition if one or more components fail.

Native means a species that is indigenous and is a part of the original fauna or flora of the area.

Natural Resources Conservation Service is an agency of the Department of Agriculture.

NRCS State Conservationist means the NRCS employee authorized to implement GRP and direct and supervise NRCS activities in a State, Caribbean Area, or the Pacific Islands Area.

Naturalized means an introduced, desirable forage species that is ecologically adapted to the site and can perpetuate itself in the community without cultural treatment. The term naturalized does not include noxious weeds.

Nesting season means the time of year that grassland dependent birds in significant decline in the local area build nests or otherwise find a place of refuge for purposes of reproduction.

Nongovernmental organization means any organization that:

(1) Is organized for, and at all times since, the formation of the organization, and has been operated principally for one or more of the conservation purposes specified in clause (i), (ii), (iii), or (iv) of section 170(h)(4)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;

(2) Is an organization described in section 501(c)(3) of that Code that is exempt from taxation under 501(a) of that Code; and

(3) Is described—

(i) In section 509(a)(1) or 509(a)(2) of that Code, or

(ii) Is described in section 509(a)(3) of that Code and is controlled by an organization described in section 509(a)(2) of that Code.

Participant means a person, legal entity, joint operation, or Indian Tribe who is accepted to participate in GRP through a rental contract or option agreement to purchase an easement.

Pastureland means grazing lands comprised of introduced or domesticated native forage species that are used primarily for the production of livestock. These lands receive periodic renovation and cultural treatments, such as tillage, aeration, fertilization, mowing, and weed control, and may be irrigated. This term does not include lands that are in rotation with crops.

Permanent easement means an easement that lasts in perpetuity or for the maximum duration allowed under the law of a State.

Private land means land that is not owned by a governmental entity and includes Tribal lands.

Purchase price means the amount paid to acquire an easement under a cooperative agreement between NRCS and an eligible entity. It is the fair market value of the easement.

Rangeland means a land cover or use category with a climax or potential plant cover composed principally of native grasses, grass-like plants, forbs, or shrubs suitable for grazing and browsing, and introduced forage species that are managed like rangeland. Rangeland includes lands re-vegetated naturally or artificially when routine management of that vegetation is accomplished mainly through manipulation of grazing. This term includes areas where introduced hardy and persistent grasses are planted and such practices as deferred grazing, burning, chaining, and rotational grazing are used with little or no chemicals or fertilizer being applied. Grasslands, savannas, many wetlands, some deserts, and tundra are considered to be rangeland. Certain communities of low forbs and shrubs, such as mesquite, chaparral, mountain shrub, and pinyon juniper are also included as rangeland.

Rental contract means the legal document that specifies the obligations and rights of a participant in GRP, including the annual rental payments to be provided to the participant for the length of the contract to maintain or restore grassland functions and values under GRP.

Restoration means implementing any conservation practice, system of practices, or activities to restore functions and values of grasslands and shrublands. The restoration may re-establish grassland functions and values on degraded land, or on land that has been converted to another use.

Restoration agreement means an agreement between the program participant and NRCS or eligible entity to carry out activities and conservation practices necessary to restore or improve the functions and values of that land. A restoration agreement will include a restoration plan.

Restoration plan is the portion of the restoration agreement that includes the schedule and conservation practices and activities to restore the functions and values of grasslands and shrublands, including protection of associated streams, ponds, and wetlands. The restoration plan incorporates the requirement that program participants will maintain GRP-funded conservation practices and activities for their expected lifespan as described in the plan.

Right of enforcement means a property interest in the easement the Chief may exercise on behalf of the United States under specific circumstances in order to enforce the terms of the conservation easement. The right of enforcement provides that the Chief has the right to inspect and enforce the easement if the eligible entity fails to uphold the easement or attempts to transfer the easement without first securing the consent of the Secretary.

Secretary means the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

Shrubland means land where the dominant plant species is shrubs, which are plants that are persistent, have woody stems, and a relatively low growth habit.

Significant decline means a decrease of a species population to such an extent that it merits conservation priority as determined by the State Conservationist, in consultation with the State Technical Committee.

State Technical Committee means a committee established by the Secretary in a State pursuant to 16 U.S.C. 3861.

Tribal land means:

(1) Land held in trust by the United States for individual Indians or Indian Tribes; or

(2) Land, the title to which is held by individual Indians or Indian Tribes subject to Federal restrictions against alienation or encumbrance; or

(3) Land which is subject to rights of use, occupancy, and benefit of certain Indian Tribes; or

(4) Land held in fee title by an Indian, Indian family, or Indian Tribe.

USDA means the Department of Agriculture and its agencies and offices, as applicable.