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e-CFR data is current as of September 24, 2020

Title 7Subtitle BChapter VISubchapter FPart 654 → Subpart B


Title 7: Agriculture
PART 654—OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE


Subpart B—Federal Financially-Assisted Projects


Contents
§654.10   Operation and maintenance agreement.
§654.11   Sponsor(s)' responsibility.
§654.12   Financing operations and maintenance.
§654.13   Designating responsibility for operation and maintenance.
§654.14   Duration of sponsor(s)' responsibility.
§654.15   Operation and maintenance.
§654.16   Property management.
§654.17   Inspection.
§654.18   Natural Resources Conservation Service responsibility.
§654.19   Plan of operation and maintenance.
§654.20   Violations of operation and maintenance agreement.

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§654.10   Operation and maintenance agreement.

A duly authorized official of the sponsor(s) must execute an O&M agreement with NRCS prior to NRCS furnishing financial assistance.

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§654.11   Sponsor(s)' responsibility.

(a) On non-Federal land, sponsor(s) are responsible for financing and performing without cost to the Federal Government, needed operation and maintenance (O&M) of project measures installed with Federal financial assistance.

(b) The Federal agency administering Federal land involving project measures is responsible either for performing or requiring the performance of O&M on land administered by that agency. If project measures benefit both Federal and non-Federal land or interests, the O&M may be performed by the Federal agency, the sponsor(s), or both as mutually agreed by the Federal agency, sponsor(s), and NRCS. If O&M of project measures is performed by mutual agreement, the cost of O&M may be shared by the Federal agency and sponsor(s) as agreed.

(c) The sponsor(s) shall obtain NRCS approval before modifying a project measure of changing land use to fulfill a different purpose.

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§654.12   Financing operations and maintenance.

Sources of funds needed to operate and maintain project measures for the duration of the O&M agreement shall be identified in the watershed or RC&D measure plan.

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§654.13   Designating responsibility for operation and maintenance.

Those organizations or agencies responsible for the O&M of each project measure shall be identified in the watershed or RC&D measure plan.

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§654.14   Duration of sponsor(s)' responsibility.

(a) Sponsor(s)' responsibility for O&M of a completed project measure begins when a part of all of the contract installing such measure is completed and accepted from the contractor. If the installation of the project measure is performed by force account, division of work, or performance of work methods, the sponsor(s)' O&M responsibilities begin on the date the work or portion thereof is completed as determined by NRCS, except for completed work located on Federal lands which are subject to special-use permits. The O&M agreement shall specify that O&M will continue through: (1) The evaluated life of the project, or (2) the evaluated life of measures that are economically evaluated as a unit, or (3) the useful life of cost-shared measures that are for land conservation or land utilization. The sponsor(s)' duties and liabilities for the measures under other Federal and State laws are not affected by the expiration of the O&M agreement.

(b) For project measures being installed in segments, the sponsor(s) shall be responsible for O&M of completed and accepted segments. However, the NRCS may share in the cost of repairing damages to a completed segment when the damage is attributed to the continuation of work on uncompleted segments of the measure or when due to the fact that the measure was only partially completed.

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§654.15   Operation and maintenance.

Sponsor(s) are to operate and maintain completed project measures in:

(a) Compliance with applicable Federal, State, and local laws, regulations, and ordinances.

(b) Compliance with any applicable conditions set forth in the instruments by which the landrights were acquired for installing, operating, and maintaining the project measures.

(c) A manner that will not significantly degrade the environment and will permit project measures to serve the purpose for which they were installed as set forth in the watershed or RC&D measure plan.

(d) Compliance with the time frames and O&M work items established in the plan of O&M and inspection reports.

(e) Accordance with agreements with NRCS on admission charges and user fees for public recreation and/or fish and wildlife facility. Admission or user fees shall be charged only as necessary to produce revenues required to amortize the sponsor(s)' share of installation costs and to provide adequate O&M for that portion of the project measures pertaining to public recreation and/or fish and wildlife facility. Sponsor(s)' admission or user fee charges require prior NRCS approval throughout the life of the O&M agreement.

(f) Accordance with the schedule for withdrawal of water in water impounding structures as specified in the watershed or RC&D measure plan or other legal documents.

(g) A manner consistent with the project objectives.

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§654.16   Property management.

Sponsor(s) are to:

(a) Use real property acquired in whole or in part with Federal funds as long as needed for the purpose for which it was acquired and in accordance with the O&M agreement. If real property acquired in whole or in part with Federal funds is no longer needed for the purpose for which it was acquired, the sponsor(s) shall obtain NRCS approval for future use or disposition.

(b) Use nonexpendable personal property acquired in whole or in part with Federal funds as long as needed for the purpose for which it was acquired in accordance with the rules governing Federal grant property (34 CFR part 256).

(c) Establish, adopt, and comply with a property management system which meets the standards governing Federal grant property.

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§654.17   Inspection.

(a) Sponsor(s) are to make periodic and special inspections of installed project measures as provided in the plan of O&M. For structural measures, inspections are to be made at least annually and after each major storm or occurrence of any unusual condition that might adversely affect the project measures. At the discretion of the State Conservationist, NRCS may assist sponsor(s) with their inspections. NRCS or land-administering agencies may make independent inspections at any time during the period covered by the O&M agreement.

(b) Sponsor(s) are to maintain a written record of each inspection and furnish NRCS and land-administering agencies a copy of that record. The record should indentify items inspected, O&M work that may be needed, a time frame to do the work, and the date of the inspection. The NRCS and land-administering agencies will provide the sponsor(s) a copy of a similar record of independent inspections.

(c) The sponsor(s) shall perform the O&M work listed as needed in the inspection reports within the time frame established for each item of work. Failure to perform O&M work will be considered a violation of the O&M agreement and will be handled in accordance with §654.20.

(d) Sponsor(s) are to maintain a written record of work performed which is listed in the inspection report and a record of other significant O&M activity. The record will identify the measure, item of work, cost of performance, and date completed.

(e) Sponsor(s)' records relative to the project shall be made available to NRCS for examination.

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§654.18   Natural Resources Conservation Service responsibility.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service will assist the sponsor(s) in developing a watershed or RC&D measure plan which includes a description of O&M work and estimated cost, assist in the preparation of O&M agreements and plans of O&M, enter into O&M agreements with the sponsor(s), and notify the sponsor(s) of observed failures to comply with the O&M agreement.

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§654.19   Plan of operation and maintenance.

(a) The plan for O&M shall be incorporated into and made a part of the O&M agreement. A separate plan of O&M shall be prepared for each project measure that is expected to a have a unique O&M need. Two or more measures with similar O&M needs may be included in a single plan for O&M.

(b) The plan of O&M shall include the known and anticipated items of O&M, an explanation of how the O&M activities may be carried out, a general time frame for making O&M inspections and for completing the needed O&M work, and the records and reports deemed appropriate by the sponsor(s) and NRCS.

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§654.20   Violations of operation and maintenance agreement.

(a) The State Conservationist shall investigate alleged sponsor violations of the O&M agreement. If the State Conservationist determines that a violation has occurred that may prevent the project measure from functioning as intended, create a health or safety hazard, or prevent the accrual of project benefits, he shall provide sponsor(s) written notification.

(b) If the sponsor(s) fail to comply with the O&M agreement or fail to take corrective action, NRCS may notify authorities having appropriate jurisdiction, withhold further assistance to the project, require the sponsor(s) to reimburse the government for the NRCS share of the cost of the project, and/or pursue other action authorized by the O&M agreement or law.

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