National Resources Inventory

Project Description
The National Resources Inventory (NRI) is a compilation of
natural resource information on non-Federal land in the United
States--about 75 percent of the total land area.

Conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural
Resources Conservation Service in cooperation with the Iowa
State University Statistical Laboratory, this inventory captures
data on land cover and use, soil erosion, prime farmland soils,
wetlands, habitat diversity, selected conservation practices,
and related resource attributes. Data are collected every 5
years from the same 800,000 sample sites in all 50 States,
Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and some Pacific Basin
locations. The NRI is a statistically based survey that has been
designed and implemented using scientific principles to assess
conditions and trends of soil, water, and related resources.

The NRI provides a record of trends in the Nation's resources
over time and documents conservation accomplishments as well. At
each sample point, information is available for 1982, 1987,
1992, and 1997, so that trends and changes in land use and
resource characteristics over 15 years can be examined and
analyzed. The NRI provides information for addressing
agricultural and environmental issues at national, regional, and
State levels.

Purpose and Use:

The NRI is conducted to obtain scientific data that is valid,
timely, and relevant on natural resources and environmental
conditions. Through legislation--the Rural Development Act of
1972, the Soil and Water Resources Conservation Act of 1977, and
other supporting acts--Congress mandates that the NRI be
conducted at intervals of 5 years or less.

Information derived from the NRI is used by natural resource
managers; policymakers; analysts; consultants; the media; other
Federal agencies; State governments; universities;
environmental, commodity, and farm groups; and the public. These
constituents use NRI information to formulate effective public
policies, fashion agricultural and natural resources
legislation, develop State and national conservation programs,
allocate USDA financial and technical assistance in addressing
natural resource concerns, and enhance the public's
understanding of natural resources and environmental issues.

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