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Laws are social institutions that guide social functions, declare social programs, and even project the visions of a governed society. In a democracy like the United States of America, laws exist at every level of government. Federal, state, and local agencies that have related missions work together as partners, and their staffs need to understand the legal requirements and limitations to better serve the constituents. Private citizens can also benefit from being aware of the laws of other jurisdictions that might serve as models for improving their laws and regulations. With this awareness the public spirit can be enhanced and the quality of life improved. The basic research for this report was completed in 1996. The criteria for selecting counties within each of the 12 study regions are based on each individual region’s representation in resource problems, data availability, geographical balance, levels of use of USDA conservation programs, and similarity in major economic activities of counties within a region. Direct requests were made to all NRCS state offices within the selected region for information concerning state and county conservation laws and regulations, and also to a limited number of district offices in the counties located in the selected state and region. Because of budget constraints the report is restricted to 17 states, and within those states to a limited number of counties and townships. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS, formerly the Soil Conservation Service) enjoys a long-standing productive relationship with an array of partners, ranging from Federal, state, and local entities to private concerns. This publication is a compilation and analysis of state and local laws, regulations, and rules in natural resource conservation to help all the partners gain a better understanding of legal authorities.