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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of December 12, 2019

Title 7Subtitle BChapter VISubchapter C → Part 621


Title 7: Agriculture


PART 621—RIVER BASIN INVESTIGATIONS AND SURVEYS


Contents

Subpart A—General

§621.1   Purpose.
§621.2   Scope.

Subpart B—USDA Cooperative Studies

§621.10   Description.
§621.11   Who may obtain assistance.
§621.12   How to request assistance.
§621.13   Conditions for approval.
§621.14   Recipient responsibility.

Subpart C—Floodplain Management Assistance

§621.20   Description.
§621.21   Who may obtain assistance.
§621.22   How to request assistance.
§621.23   Conditions for approval.
§621.24   NRCS responsibility.
§621.25   Recipient responsibility.

Subpart D—Joint Investigations and Reports With the Department of the Army

§621.30   Description.
§621.31   Who may request assistance.
§621.32   How to request assistance.
§621.33   Conditions for approval.
§621.34   Recipient responsibility.

Subpart E—Interagency Coordination

§621.40   Participation in Federal interagency policy activities at the national level.
§621.41   Participation in Federal-State policy and planning activities at the regional level.
§621.42   Federal-State compacts.
§621.43   Interstate compacts and commissions.
§621.44   Special studies.
§621.45   Flood insurance studies.

Authority: Sec. 6 (Pub. L. 83-566) 68 Stat. 666 (16 U.S.C. 1006).

Source: 48 FR 18788, Apr. 26, 1983, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A—General

§621.1   Purpose.

This part describes policies, requirements, and procedures governing the Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) investigations and surveys of watersheds of rivers and other waterways as a basis for developing coordinated programs. These activities are undertaken in cooperation with other Federal, State, and local agencies. The delegation of authority to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to provide national leadership for the conservation, development, and productive use of the Nation's soil, water, and related resources, including the activities treated in this part is found at §2.62 of this title.

§621.2   Scope.

USDA river basin activities include:

(a) Cooperative river basin surveys in coordination with Federal, State, and local agencies;

(b) Floodplain management assistance in coordination with the responsible State agency and involved local governments;

(c) Joint investigations and reports with the Department of the Army under Pub. L. 87-639, 76 Statute 438 (16 U.S.C. 1009); and

(d) Interagency coordination of water resources activities.

Subpart B—USDA Cooperative Studies

§621.10   Description.

Cooperative river basin studies provide USDA planning assistance to Federal, State, and local governments. The purpose of these studies is to assist in appraising water and related land resources; defining and determining the extent of the problems; and formulating alternative plans, including land treatment, nonstructural or structural measures, or combinations thereof, that would solve existing problems or meet existing and projected needs. These studies concentrate on specific objectives identified by the requesting agencies and citizen groups that are consistent with USDA authorities and responsibilities and current NRCS priorities. The objectives ordinarily include the formulation of a plan but may require only inventories of available resources and associated problems to be used by other agencies in plan formulation. USDA assistance is provided through field advisory committees composed of representatives of the Economic Research Service, Forest Service, and NRCS. The NRCS representative chairs the field advisory committee.

§621.11   Who may obtain assistance.

Assistance is available to conservation districts, communities. county governments, regional planning boards, other planning groups, and State and Federal agencies. Local groups express their desires for a cooperative study to the governor or appropriate State agency.

§621.12   How to request assistance.

For a cooperative study a governor, or a Federal, State, or local government agency must submit a written request and a Proposal to Study (PTS) through the NRCS State Conservationist to the Chief. Assistance in preparing the proposal may be obtained by contacting the State Conservationist. The State Conservationist sends the request and proposal with comments to the Chief for consideration. The proposal should:

(a) Describe the basin or study area, including a map of the study area;

(b) Explain the need for the study;

(c) Explain the need for USDA participation;

(d) State the responsibility and authority of the requesting agency in the study;

(e) Estimate the extent of participation of other Federal and State agencies;

(f) Discuss views and priorities of affected soil conservation districts regarding the proposed study;

(g) Briefly describe the intended management organization of the study;

(h) Specifically describe the expected results of the study;

(i) Identify primary users of the study results and the manner in which the results will be used;

(j) State the relationship of the study to ongoing and completed river basin studies;

(k) State that procedures for informing clearinghouses and for eliciting public participation will be followed;

(l) Estimate the duration and scope of the study; and

(m) Estimate the study costs by year and agency.

§621.13   Conditions for approval.

The Chief may authorize requested cooperative studies recommended by the State Conservationist. Priority for starting cooperative studies is based on the date of application, the readiness of the requesting agency to begin participation, the importance and significance of problems to be studied, the monetary or in-kind contributions toward the study, the sequence of ongoing and future studies, the type of study, the duration of study, the cost of study, the potential for implementation and other factors affecting the effectiveness and efficiency of the study. The number and location of cooperative studies started each year are governed by the availability of USDA funds and personnel.

§621.14   Recipient responsibility.

Leadership in arrangements for other needed Federal, State, and local agency participation is responsibility of the requesting agency. Consistent with national objectives and NRCS policy and procedures, the requesting agency has leadership responsibility for developing specific study objectives, providing the necessary study organization, and ensuring public participation in the planning process.

Subpart C—Floodplain Management Assistance

§621.20   Description.

Floodplain management studies provide needed information and assistance to local and State entities so that they can implement programs for reducing existing and future flood damages in rural and urban communities. Assistance is targeted to communities where flood damage is a serious concern and local governments are sincerely interested in taking action to reduce damage.

§621.21   Who may obtain assistance.

Assistance is available to conservation districts, communities, county governments, regional planning boards, other planning groups, and State and Federal agencies.

§621.22   How to request assistance.

(a) A conservation district, local community or other jurisdiction may request floodplain management assistance for a local area for which they are responsible, by letter to the governor or the agency of State government responsible for floodplain management activities. Assistance in making application may be obtained by contacting any NRCS office.

(b) The governor or his designee may request floodplain management assistance for the State by submitting a written request to the State Conservationist.

§621.23   Conditions for approval.

(a) USDA floodplain management studies are authorized by the Director of the Basin and Area Planning Division. Priority for starting floodplain management studies is based on the same factors as for USDA Cooperative Studies as described in §621.13.

(b) A study for an individual community may be started upon completion of a plan of work in which the Director of the Basin and Area Planning Division concurs and for which funds are available. Preparation of the plan of work is the responsibility of and must be approved by the applicant, the responsible State agency, and the State Conservationist. The plan sets forth the responsibilities of the applicant, the State, and USDA in carrying out the study and interpreting and using the data in a local floodplain management program. The State agency responsible for floodplain management activities may establish priorities on which to base the sequence of approval of floodplain management studies within its State. The number of studies started each Federal fiscal year is governed by the availability of funds and personnel and the amount of State and local assistance available.

(c) States and communities are encouraged to make monetary or in-kind contributions toward the floodplain management study. The State and local share may reflect in-kind contributions in lieu of fund transfers.

§621.24   NRCS responsibility.

NRCS is responsible for providing leadership for scheduling and implementing the technical phases of the studies and preparing the reports. NRCS assists in interpreting the study results.

§621.25   Recipient responsibility.

The State agency is responsible for developing State priorities for floodplain management studies and coordinating this work with related activities in the State. The cooperating local government entity is responsible for obtaining permission for carrying out field surveys. The State and local participants assist in distributing and interpreting the report and providing public information and educational services.

Subpart D—Joint Investigations and Reports With the Department of the Army

§621.30   Description.

(a) As provided by Pub. L. 87-639, joint investigations and reports by USDA and the Department of the Army may be authorized by resolutions adopted by the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the U.S. Senate or the Committee on Public Works and Transportation of the U.S. House of Representatives for any watershed area in the 50 States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands if the nature of the watershed area problems dictates need for a joint effort by the two Departments.

(b) Authorized joint investigations and reports are made to determine works of improvement needed in the study area for flood prevention; for the conservation, development, use, and disposal of water; for flood control; for the conservation and proper use of land; and for allied purposes. The joint report to Congress may include a water and related land resources plan recommended for implementation. Such an implementation plan must be accompanied by an environmental impact statement (EIS) and must be in sufficient detail to permit its implementation.

(c) As mutually agreed by USDA and the Department of the Army Corps of Engineers, the report and EIS are forwarded to Congress through appropriate channels after technical, public, and interagency reviews in accordance with NRCS policy as described in §622.34, or in accordance with the Corps of Engineers' policy concerning technical and public review. Implementation of these plans is contingent on congressional action.

§621.31   Who may request assistance.

Any organization, group, or State or local government may request assistance.

§621.32   How to request assistance.

Applicants for a joint investigation and report should request their congressional representative(s) to initiate appropriate action under Pub. L. 87-639.

§621.33   Conditions for approval.

A joint investigation and report is authorized by a resolution of the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the U.S. Senate or the Committee on Public Works and Transportation of the U.S. House of Representatives. Studies are initiated when funds for them are appropriated by the Congress.

§621.34   Recipient responsibility.

Participating local and State governments work with USDA and the Department of the Army representatives in developing objectives, collecting data, analyzing problems, planning and formulating proposals, and considering financial plans. Active public participation is solicited in the planning process through means such as questionnaires, public meetings, citizen advisory boards, and technical committees.

Subpart E—Interagency Coordination

§621.40   Participation in Federal interagency policy activities at the national level.

(a) Policy development in water and related land resources is coordinated at the Federal level through the Cabinet Council on Natural Resources and Environment. NRCS provides staff support and representation in these activities as requested.

(b) Within the Department, all interested USDA agencies participate in water policy development through the USDA Committee on Natural Resources and Environment and the Water Issues Work Group.

(c) NRCS provides appropriate staff support when requested for committees, work groups, and task forces established for interagency coordination of water resources related activities of Federal agencies.

§621.41   Participation in Federal-State policy and planning activities at the regional level.

(a) NRCS has a responsibility to represent the Department when needed to assist regional water planning entities and interagency committees which coordinate water resources planning activities.

(b) For the Arkansas-White-Red Basin Interagency Committee (AWRBIAC) and the Pacific Southwest Interagency Committee (PSIAC), the USDA member periodically serves as chairperson and provides an executive secretary. For the Southeast Basin Interagency Committee (SEBIAC), NRCS periodically provides an executive secretary for the chairperson, who is a State government official.

(c) Under the leadership of NRCS, other USDA agencies, principally the Forest Service and Economic Research Service, also participate.

§621.42   Federal-State compacts.

NRCS is designated to represent USDA in assisting the U.S. Commissioners of the Delaware River Basin Commission and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission. In carrying out this responsibility, NRCS provides a liaison officer to work with the U.S. Commissioners on policy level matters, as well as providing the USDA representatives on the Federal field committees to assist the Commissioners.

§621.43   Interstate compacts and commissions.

As assigned, an NRCS State Conservationist is the USDA point of contact for governing bodies of interstate compacts and commissions concerned with the conservation, development, and proper use of water, soil, and related resources.

§621.44   Special studies.

As designated, NRCS represents USDA on special study groups such as for the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program Studies.

§621.45   Flood insurance studies.

As requested by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and within the limits of available resources, NRCS carries out flood insurance studies of various types under the National Flood Insurance Program (Pub. L. 90-448, 82 Statute, 574 (42 U.S.C. 4012)), as amended. In this activity, NRCS performs detailed technical studies to determine the extent and frequency of flooding. The flood insurance program is administered by FEMA. NRCS is reimbursed by that agency for actual costs incurred in carrying out the studies. Local entities desiring flood insurance coverage should contact the responsible State agency or FEMA and apply in accordance with procedures of that agency.

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