7 CFR § 613.2 - Policy and objectives.
(a) It is NRCS policy to assemble, comparatively evaluate, release, and distribute for commercial increase new or improved plant materials and plant materials technology needed for broad programs of resource conservation and development for agriculture, wildlife, urban, recreation, and other land uses and environmental needs. It is the policy of NRCS to conduct plant materials work in cooperation with other agencies of the Department of Agriculture, such as the Agricultural Research Service, and with other Federal and State research agencies, including State agricultural experiment stations. The emphasis of the NRCS plant materials work is to find suitable plants to address conservation needs. In contrast, the emphasis of research agencies and organizations in plant development is to improve economically important crops. The NRCS program of testing and releasing new seed-propagated plant materials follows the guidelines in “Statement of Responsibilities and Policies Relating to the Development, Release, and Multiplication of Publicly Developed Varieties of Seed-Propagated Crops,” which was adopted in June 1972, by Land Grant Colleges and interested Federal agencies. NRCS releases improved conservation plant materials requiring vegetative multiplication in ways appropriate for particular States and particular species by working with experiment stations, crop improvement associations, and other State and Federal agencies.
(b) The objective of the plant materials activity is to select or develop special and improved plants and techniques for their successful establishment and maintenance to solve conservation problems and needs related to:
(1) Controlling soil erosion on all lands;
(2) Conserving water;
(3) Protecting upstream watersheds;
(4) Reducing sediment movement into waterways and reservoirs through the stabilization of critical sediment sources, such as surface mined lands, highway slopes, recreation sites, and urban and industrial development areas;
(5) Stabilizing disposal areas for liquid and solid wastes;
(6) Improving plant diversity and lengthening the grazing season on dryland pastures and rangelands;
(7) Managing brush on mountain slopes with fire-retarding plant cover to reduce the possibility of fires that threaten life and property, or result in serious sediment sources;
(8) Improving the effectiveness of windbreaks and shelterbelts for reducing airborne sediment, controlling snow drifting, and preventing crop damage from wind erosion;
(9) Protecting streambank, pond, and lake waterlines from erosion by scouring and wave action;
(10) Improving wildlife food and cover, including threatened and endangered and pollinator species;
(11) Selecting special purpose plants to meet specific needs for environment protection and enhancement;
(12) Selecting plants that tolerate air pollution agents and toxic soil chemicals;
(13) Selecting plants that mitigate odor, Particulate Matter (PM)-10, and PM-2.5;
(14) Testing plants for biofuels and other energy-related activities; and
(15) Evaluating plants and techniques to combat invasive plant species and for reestablishment of desirable species after eradication.