Soils—Legal Instruments

The NPS Geologic Resources Division developed this article as part of a series to summarize laws, regulations, and policies that specifically apply to NPS minerals and geologic resources. The table below does not include laws of general application (e.g., Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Wilderness Act, National Environmental Policy Act, or National Historic Preservation Act). Also, the table does include the NPS Organic Act when it serves as the main authority for protection of a particular resource or when other, more specific laws are not available. Information is current as of December 2023. Contact the NPS Geologic Resources Division for detailed guidance.


Resource-specific Laws

Soil and Water Resources Conservation Act, 16 USC §§ 2011–2009

provides for the collection and analysis of soil and related resource data and the appraisal of the status, condition, and trends for these resources.

Farmland Protection Policy Act, 7 USC § 4201 et. seq.

requires NPS to identify and take into account the adverse effects of Federal programs on the preservation of farmland; consider alternative actions, and assure that such Federal programs are compatible with State, unit of local government, and private programs and policies to protect farmland. NPS actions
are subject to the FPPA if they may irreversibly convert farmland (directly or indirectly) to nonagricultural use and are completed by a Federal agency or with assistance from a Federal agency. Applicable projects require coordination with the Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Resource-specific Regulations

7 CFR Parts 610 and 611

are the US Department of Agriculture regulations for the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Part 610 governs the NRCS technical assistance program, soil erosion predictions, and the conservation of private grazing land. Part 611 governs soil surveys and cartographic operations. The
NRCS works with the NPS through cooperative arrangements.

2006 Management Policies


requires NPS to:
prevent unnatural erosion, removal, and contamination;

  • conduct soil surveys;
  • minimize unavoidable excavation; and
  • develop/follow written prescriptions (instructions).

Related Links

Part of a series of articles titled Geology & Minerals—Resource Laws, Regulations, and Policies.

Last updated: January 2, 2024