[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 241 (Friday, December 14, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 74456-74457]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-30158]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Natural Resources Conservation Service

[Docket No. NRCS-2012-0004]


Notice of Proposed Changes to the National Handbook of 
Conservation Practices for the Natural Resources Conservation Service

AGENCY: Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), USDA.

ACTION: Notice of availability of proposed changes in the NRCS National 
Handbook of Conservation Practices for public review and comment.

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SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given of the intention of NRCS to issue a 
series of revised conservation practice standards in the National 
Handbook of Conservation Practices. These standards include: Amendments 
for the Treatment of Agricultural Waste (Code 591), Building Envelope 
Improvement (Code 672), Fence (Code 382), Lighting System Improvement 
(Code 670), Recreation Land Grading and Shaping (Code 566), Row 
Arrangement (Code 557), Sprinkler System (Code 442), Tree/Shrub Site 
Preparation (Code 490), Waste Separation Facility (Code 632), Waste 
Treatment (Code 629), Watering Facility (Code 614), and Waterspreading 
(Code 640).
    NRCS State Conservationists who choose to adopt these practices for 
use within their States will incorporate them into section IV of their 
respective electronic Field Office Technical Guide. These practices may 
be used in conservation systems that treat highly erodible land (HEL) 
or on land determined to be a wetland. Section 343 of the Federal 
Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 requires NRCS to make 
available for public review and comment all proposed revisions to 
conservation practice standards used to carry out HEL and wetland 
provisions of the law.

DATES: Effective Date: This is effective December 14, 2012.
    Comment Date: Submit comments on or before January 14, 2013. Final 
versions of these new or revised conservation practice standards will 
be adopted after the close of the 30-day period, and after 
consideration of all comments.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be submitted, identified by Docket Number 
NRCS-2012-0004, using any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

[[Page 74457]]

     Email: Public.comments@wdc.usda.gov. Include Docket Number 
NRCS-2012-0004 or ``comment on practice standards'' in the subject line 
of the message.
     Mail: Comment Submissions, Attention: Verna Jones, Policy 
Analyst, Resource Economics, Analysis and Policy Division, Department 
of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, George 
Washington Carver Center, 5601 Sunnyside Ave, Room 1-1112C, Beltsville, 
Maryland 20705.

All comments received will become a matter of public record and will be 
posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov including any 
personal information provided.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Wayne Bogovich, National Agricultural 
Engineer, Conservation Engineering Division, Department of Agriculture, 
Natural Resources Conservation Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., 
Room 6136 South Building, Washington, DC 20250.
    Electronic copies of these standards can be downloaded or printed 
from the following Web site: ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/NHQ/practice-standards/federal-register/. Requests for paper versions or 
inquiries may be directed to Wayne Bogovich, National Agricultural 
Engineer, Conservation Engineering Division, Department of Agriculture, 
Natural Resources Conservation Service, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., 
Room 6136 South Building, Washington, DC 20250.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The amount of the proposed changes varies 
considerably for each of the conservation practice standards addressed 
in this notice. To fully understand the proposed changes, individuals 
are encouraged to compare these changes with each standard's current 
version as shown at: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/Standards/nhcp.html. To aid in this comparison, following are highlights of the 
proposed revisions to each standard:
    Amendments for the Treatment of Agricultural Waste (Code 591)--An 
additional purpose to reduce risk associated with the spread and 
contamination of pathogens was added. A subsection on system effects 
was added to limit the use of amendments to situations where the 
impacts of the altered waste stream on other parts of the manure 
management system have been identified and to assure that land 
application of treated manure would comply with the requirements of 
Conservation Practice Standard 590, Nutrient Management. Other minor 
changes were made for style and clarity that did not change the 
technical substance of the standard.
    Building Envelope Improvement (Code 672)--This is a new 
conservation practice standard for modification or retrofit of the 
building envelope of an existing agricultural structure.
    Fence (Code 382)--Wildlife needs are now included under general 
criteria, being moved from the considerations section. This will ensure 
all fence design and placement is made with knowledge of potential 
impacts to local wildlife.
    Lighting System Improvement (Code 670)--This is a new conservation 
practice standard for complete replacement or retrofitting of one or 
more components of an existing agricultural lighting system.
    Recreation Land Grading and Shaping (Code 566)--There were minor 
changes to wording with changes to active voice and references added.
    Row Arrangement (Code 557)--Added wording to Definition to be 
consistent with purpose, minor changes to wording with changes to 
active voice, and added references.
    Sprinkler System (Code 442)--Changed name from ``Irrigation System, 
Sprinkler'' to ``Sprinkler'' to make the standard more applicable to 
other conservation measures that use sprinklers as part of solution 
(i.e., dust control). Other changes include shortening the section on 
center pivots and adding criteria for purposes other than irrigation.
    Tree/Shrub Site Preparation (Code 490)--Only minor changes were 
made to the standard including editorial changes to the second purpose 
and the general criteria to improve clarity. Pest management issues are 
referred to the current Pest Management policy.
    Waste Separation Facility (Code 632)--The name changed from Solid/
Liquid Waste Separation Facility to Waste Separation Facility. Two 
purposes were removed and one was added to address manure handling. 
Additional separation methods (not inclusive) were added to the 
separation efficiency table. The practice will allow solid/solid 
separation such as poultry litter screening. Two new criteria sections 
were developed for Sand Separation and Reuse.
    Waste Treatment (Code 629)--The conditions where practice applies 
was shortened and made more generic. A subsection on utilities was 
added to make the standard more consistent with other practice 
standards that could involve construction activities. The requirement 
for a minimum practice life of 10 years was removed from the standard. 
Other minor changes were made for style and clarity that did not change 
the technical substance of the standard.
    Watering Facility (Code 614)--The definition was modified to 
include watering ramps since the purpose of a watering ramp is to 
provide a watering facility for livestock and wildlife. Additional 
criteria for the use of tanks for water storage were added.
    Waterspreading (Code 640)--Reworded purpose to be more in line with 
the new resource concerns. Other changes consist of cleaning up 
language in criteria and considerations section.

    Signed this 15th day of November 2012, in Washington, DC.
Dave White,
Chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-30158 Filed 12-13-12; 8:45 am]
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