NRCS Practice Standard: Stream Crossing (578)

Home / Catalog Entries / NRCS Practice Standard: Stream Crossing (578)

NRCS Practice Standard: Stream Crossing (578)

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:

Stream Crossing (578)

A stream crossing is a stabilized area, or a structure constructed across a stream to provide a travel way for people, livestock, equipment, or vehicles.

Practice Information

Stream crossings can be used to provide access to another field or area, improve water quality by reducing sediment and nutrient loading of the stream, or reduce streambank and streambed erosion. This practice applies where an intermittent or perennial watercourse exists and a ford, bridge, or culvert-type crossing is needed.

A ford crossing is best suited for a wide, shallow watercourse with a firm streambed. Typical materials used for a ford crossing are concrete or rock. Ford crossings have the least detrimental effect on water quality when their use is infrequent. If the stream crossing will be used often, as in a dairy operation, a bridge or culvert crossing should be used.

Culverts and bridges work best on sites where the stream channel is relatively narrow or where the banks are steep. Bridges that fully span the stream are preferred where excessive sediment flows, or large woody debris is expected. Culvert crossings are usually more economical to install than bridges; however, culverts have some potential to impede passage of fish and other aquatic organisms.

Evaluate the need for safety features such as guard rails and reflectors on culvert or bridge crossings, and water-depth signage on ford crossings.

Common Associated Practices

NRCS Conservation Practice Standard (CPS) Stream Crossing (Code 578) is commonly applied with other conversation practices such as:

  • Trails and Walkways (Code 575)
  • Access Road (Code 560)
  • Fence (Code 382)

    To view the national NRCS standard Stream Crossing 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

    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

    Disclaimer: Newtrient has collected the information and photographs on this page from public sources including the vendor’s website and promotional material in accordance with Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance for "fair use". All vendor product and company names are trademarks™, registered trademarks® and/or trade names of the respective vendors or their licensors. Unless otherwise noted, Newtrient is not associated, connected or affiliated with, or sponsored or endorsed by, any vendor or licensor of such trademarks and trade names. See Terms of Use for details.