NRCS Practice Standard: Heavy Use Area Protection (561)

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NRCS Practice Standard: Heavy Use Area Protection (561)

About the Company:

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s primary private lands conservation agency. The NRCS helps producers protect and conserve natural resources on private lands through voluntary conservation programs. Through Practice Standards and technical guides, the NRCS provides information about the conservation, energy resources, and provides personalized advice to individual producers.

The NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides technical and financial assistance to producers as they implement NRCS Conservation Practice Standards.

Technical guides used in each field office are localized so that they apply specifically to the geographic area for which they are prepared. Thus, while national guidelines have been provided as a framework for each standard, each state has adopted and modified the conservation practice standards to suit their individual landscape.

To find a local NRCS Service center click here.

To find the specific guideline for each state click here.

About the Solution:

Heavy Use Area Protection (561)

Heavy Use Area Protection is a way to stabilize a ground surface that is frequently and intensively used by people, animals, or vehicles.

Practice Information

This practice is installed to protect and improve water quality by providing a stable, noneroding surface for areas frequently used by animals, people, or vehicles.

Commonly used surface treatments include concrete, bituminous concrete, and gravel. In some places, it may be necessary to provide a roofed structure over the treated surface to achieve the desired resource protection.

This practice is often used to provide surface stability in areas where concentration of livestock is causing a resource concern. This includes feeding areas, portable hay rings, watering facilities, feeding troughs, and mineral areas. In these areas, provision must be made for the collection, storage, utilization, and treatment of manure and contaminated runoff.

This practice has a minimum expected life of 10 years. Maintenance requirements for the practice depend on the type of surface chosen by the producer and its intended use. Routine maintenance is needed to ensure the facility operates as designed.

Common Associated Practices

Heavy Use Area Protection (Code 561) may be installed as a stand-alone practice, or it may be applied with other NRCS Conservation Practice Standards (CPSs) to control surface water, such as:

  • Diversion (Code 362)
  • Filter Strip (Code 393)
  • Vegetated Treatment Area (Code 635)
  • Roofs and Covers (Code 367)
  • Waste Storage Facility (313)
  • Prescribed Grazing (528)
  • Watering Facility (614)

  • It may also be necessary to use NRCS CPSs Access Control (Code 472) or Fence (Code 382) to modify traffic patterns around the area.

    To view the full NRCS standard for Heavy Use Area Protection please click here.

    Natural Resources Conservation Service, US Department of Agriculture 1400 Independence Ave., S.W. Washington, DC United States 1-833-ONE-USDA Visit Company Website

    Solution Type

    • General Support and Other


    • Others


    • Other


    • Odor

    To view additional information about this vendor, click below.

    Solution Strengths, Weaknesses and Critical Indicators

    NOTE: There are multiple technologies that are used as part of integrated manure management systems and yet are not manure management types on their own. The impact of these technologies on their own would be minimal or very difficult to quantify.

    General Support & Other:

    • Can be an integral part of many manure management systems
    • Most projects have at least some equipment that supports operations of the main technology
    • This technology is not evaluated on its own, the NEAT Matrix for this technology is neutral unless utilized with other technologies.

    Newtrient Comments/Opinions:

    Newtrient is using the USDA-NRCS conservation practice standards as tools to assist dairy producers in understanding the standards and how they can be used to address resources concerns.

    To establish a Practice Standard a system or practice must be thoroughly vetted, approved, and standardized by the USDA at the federal and state level. These conservation practices have been developed to address various environmental resource concerns. Newtrient has developed a 9-point scoring process for ranking additives, practices, services, and technologies for the dairy industry. Recognizing the rigorous approval procedure used during the development of the NRCS Practice Standards, many of them score very highly and are worthy of consideration on any dairy where they apply.

    The information provided here is a summary of the selected conservation practices. For up to date and detailed information related to the full Practice Standards, please see the USDA NRCS website, linked above.

    Newtrient 9-Point Scoring Rating

    View the Scoring Page

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