Message to the Congress Transmitting a Report on Soil and Water Resources Conservation


October 1, 1987


To the Congress of the United States:


Transmitted herewith is the annual report required by Section 7(b) of the Soil and Water Resources Conservation Act of 1977 (P.L. 95 - 192) as amended by P.L. 99 - 198.


The Soil and Water Resources Conservation Act of 1977 (RCA) requires the Secretary of Agriculture to appraise the condition of the soil, water, and related resources on the non-Federal lands of the Nation, and to develop a national soil and water conservation program for assisting landowners and land users in their future conservation activities on these lands.


The first appraisal, completed in 1980, was based primarily on the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) 1977 Natural Resources Inventory (NRI). The 1977 NRI was the most comprehensive and refined body of such data that had ever become available. It provided a solid foundation for the appraisal of the program.


The first program report, a National Program for Soil and Water Conservation, was completed in 1982. It set national conservation objectives and priorities, focused corrective action on the areas of the country with the most critical problems, and strengthened the existing partnership among local and State agencies, organizations, and the Federal Government for dealing with resource problems. Guided by this program, USDA has extended more technical and financial assistance than ever before in areas with the most serious problems of soil erosion and dwindling water supplies.


The USDA has been reshaping its conservation programs, using the 1980 appraisal and 1982 program as its blueprint. In addition, these two vital tools have enabled the USDA to analyze how its other programs, aside from those specifically for conservation, affect the condition of soil and water resources.


This annual report summarizes fiscal year 1986 soil and water conservation programs and activities, and progress being made under the 1982 National Program for Soil and Water Conservation. Accomplishment data included in the report are consistent with those reported in the 1988 budget request and the accompanying explanatory notes. I would like to reaffirm my support for the ongoing effort against soil erosion and other resource problems. I am confident that further progress can be made towards the goal of reasonable and judicious use of this country's important natural resources.


Ronald Reagan


The White House,


October 1, 1987.