eLINK User Guidance Header

Purpose: This guidance lists the practices available for users to select within eLINK. Note that not all NRCS FOTG practices are available.

Practices are reported under the Activity Details screen within each Activity.  The available practices in eLINK are listed below, along with a brief description. Practices are filtered by previously selected Activity Category in eLINK.  See the Chart of Practices by Activity Category guidance document when building an application or workplan in eLINK to ensure you are selecting the appropriate Activity Category for your anticipated practices. Not all practices are eligible under all grants.

Description of Practices within eLINK

Practice Name



Access Control


The temporary or permanent exclusion of animals, people, vehicles, and/or equipment from an area.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 472 and 382.

Access Road


A travel way constructed as part of a conservation plan.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 560.

Alternative Tile Intake - Dense Pattern Tiling


Replacement of existing open tile inlet(s) with water quality improvement inlet(s), e.g. dense pattern tile. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 606 Subsurface Drain, as applicable.

Alternative Tile Intake - Gravel Inlet


Replacement of existing open tile inlet(s) with water quality improvement inlet(s), e.g. gravel inlet. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 606 Subsurface Drain, as applicable.

Alternative Tile Intake - Other Blind Intake


Replacement of existing open tile inlet(s) with water quality improvement inlet(s), e.g. blind intake. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 606 Subsurface Drain, as applicable.

Alternative Tile Intake - Perforated Riser Intake


Replacement of existing open tile inlet(s) with water quality improvement inlet(s), e.g. perforated riser intake. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 606 Subsurface Drain, as applicable.

Alum addition - In Lake


In-lake treatment or addition of aluminum sulfate for the purposes of phosphorus removal.

Anaerobic Digester


A managed temperature biological waste treatment facility.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 366.

Animal Mortality Facility


On-farm facility for the treatment or disposal of livestock carcasses. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 316.

Aquatic Vegetation Management


Use of chemical or mechanical means to control submergent and/or emergent aquatic vegetation, including drawdowns.  Requires a MNDNR Permit.

Beneficial Trees and/or Shrubs 723M Flowering trees and shrubs with quality nectar and pollen for bees in the spring. Use this practice for Lawns to Legumes grants only.  

Bioretention Basin


Bioretention employs a site-integrated design that provides opportunity for runoff infiltration, filtration, storage and water uptake by vegetation.  See also the MN Stormwater Manual.

Brush Management


Management or removal of woody plants including, but not limited to, those that are invasive and noxious. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 314.

Chloride - Anti-ice


Anti-icing solution applied before snow cover to prevent bond from forming between frozen precipitation and pavement.

Chloride - Equipment Upgrades


Improvements to winter maintenance application equipment such as calibration, ground-oriented automated spreader controls, etc.

Chloride - pre-wet


Use of pre-wetted product mixes to reduce overall application of salt.

Chloride - Reduce Waste/Spills


Winter Maintenance practices to reduce or eliminate run-off of chloride containing materials into ground water lakes and rivers.  Such practices include truck overfilling/ equipment malfunctions causing spills, over-application on surfaces, etc.

Chloride Reduction


All other practices to decrease or eliminate the use of chloride-containing materials including summer gravel road practices and reduction of chloride use from water softeners.  Practice should be identified in the description field.

Chloride - Storage and Maintenance


Winter Maintenance practices to store inside or a covered structure to minimize or prevent run-off of chloride containing material into ground water lakes and rivers (does not include covering materials with a tarp)

Clearing and Snagging


Removing snags, drifts, or other obstructions from a channel.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 326.

Closure of Waste Impoundments


Closure of waste impoundments no longer used for their intended purpose. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 360.

Composting Facility


Facility to process raw manure or other raw organic by-products into biologically stable organic material. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 317.

Conservation Cover


Establishing and maintaining permanent vegetative cover with the intent of reducing soil erosion. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 327.

Conservation Crop Rotation


A system for growing several different crops in planned succession on the same field, including at least one soil-conserving crop such as perennial hay.  Includes NRCS practice(s) 328.

Conservation Easement


Conservation easements involve the acquisition of limited rights in land for conservation purposes. The easement is recorded on the land title with the county recorder and transfers with the land when the parcel is sold.

Conservation Tillage


Conservation tillage is any tillage practice that leaves additional residue on the soil surface for purposes of erosion control on agricultural fields. Includes NRCS Practices 329, 345, 346.

Contaminant Source Inventory


Inventory of potential contaminant sources that may degrade the state’s water resources.

Contour Buffer Strips


Contour buffer strips are strips of permanent vegetation alternated down the slope with wider cultivated strips that are farmed on the contour.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 332.

Contour Farming


Contour farming entails farming along the contour such that ridges, furrows and planting are perpendicular to the slope of the land. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 330.

Cooperative Weed Management Area


Establishment of Cooperative Weed Management Areas for the control of invasive plant species and noxious weeds.

Cover Crop


Crops or other herbaceous plants established for seasonal cover and conservation purposes. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 340.

Critical Area Planting


Establishing permanent vegetation on sites that have, or are expected to have, high erosion rates. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 342.



An artificial barrier that can impound water for one or more beneficial purposes.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 402.

Denitrifying Bioreactor


A structure containing a carbon source installed to intercept subsurface drain (tile) flow or ground water, and reduce the concentration of nitrate-nitrogen.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 747.



A channel generally constructed across the slope with a supporting ridge on the lower side.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 362.

Drainage System Inventory


Inventory of drainage systems

Drainage Water Management


Process of managing water discharges from surface and/or subsurface agricultural drainage systems. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 554.

Erosion Control


An engineered or ecological practice that is not otherwise recognized that is installed with the intent of reducing soil erosion or protecting a vulnerable site from potential future losses from soil erosion.

Enhanced Street Sweeping


Increased frequency of street sweeping activities that occur in prioritized areas and conducted during key times of the year.

Feedlot Inventory


Inventory of feedlots.

Feedlot Relocation/Retirement


The closure of a feedlot; either permanently or as part of a relocation within the general property. Mapped point should reflect the closed feedlot.

Filter Strip


A strip or area of herbaceous vegetation that removes contaminants from overland flow. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 386 and 393 and filter strips as per the MN Stormwater Manual.

Fish Management


The manipulation of species composition and/or control of exotic fish species for the  purposes of water quality improvement or protection.

Forage and Biomass Planting


Establishing adapted and/or compatible species, varieties, or cultivars or herbaceous species suitable for pasture, hay, or biomass production.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 512.

Forest Management Plan


A state recognized management plan that includes recommendations for forest management activities.  May be a forest stewardship plan or a Small Acreage Assessment.

Forestry Management


The manipulation of species composition, stand structure and stocking by cutting or killing selected trees and understory vegetation. Altering site conditions by controlling or eliminating undesirable vegetation.  Also includes planting species with the intention of manipulating the woody diversity on the landscape.  Includes  NRCS Practice(s) 490 and 666.

Grade Stabilization Structure


A structure used to control the grade and head cutting in natural or artificial channels. Includes side-inlet controls for existing drainage ditches and/or streams.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 410.

Grassed Waterway and Swales


A shaped or graded channel that is established with suitable vegetation to carry surface water at a non-erosive velocity to a stable outlet.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 412; includes dry swales as per the MN Stormwater Manual.

Green Roof


Structural or vegetative practices that are intended to capture and/or reduce precipitation from running off a roof surface.  Separate from NRCS Practice(s) 558.

Groundwater Monitoring


Monitoring of groundwater for quantity or quality.

Heavy Use Area Protection


The stabilization of areas frequently and intensively used by people, animals, or vehicles by surfacing with suitable materials (use is continued).  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 561.

Infiltration Trench


Capture and temporary storage of stormwater to facilitate infiltration into the soil, may include basins, trenches, dry wells, and underground infiltration systems. Includes tree trenches.



A documented visit to a field site to ensure that a state funded conservation activity is being maintained as per an approved Operations and Maintenance (O&M) plan.

Irrigation Water Management


The process of determining and controlling the volume, frequency and application of irrigation water in a planned, efficient manner.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 442 and 449.

Land Reclamation, Abandoned Mined Land


Reclamation of land and water areas adversely affected by past mining activities.

LiDAR Derived Product(s)


Development of new Lidar-derived data products (not analysis or use of existing Lidar products). Examples of new LiDAR products would include hydromodified DEMs, flow networks, contours, etc.

Lined Waterway or Outlet


A waterway or outlet having an erosion-resistant lining of concrete, stone, synthetic turf reinforcement, or other permanent material.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 468.

Multi-stage Ditch


Alternatives to traditional trapezoidal drainage ditch design; contains an inset channel at the bottom that passes the channel forming flow and floodplain benches on either side that convey less frequent, high-discharge events with an objective to mimic the function of natural systems.f

Native Pocket Planting: Small Garden 719 M

Small native plant garden designed to benefit pollinators through the season. Use this practice for Lawns to Legumes grants only.

Native Pocket Planting: Raingarden 720M Small native pollinator planting, installed within a raingarden, designed to benefit pollinators through the season. Use this practice for Lawns to Legumes grants only.
Native Pocket Planting: Shoreline Buffer 721M

Small native pollinator planting, installed within a shoreline buffer, designed to benefit pollinators through the season. Use this practice for Lawns to Legumes grants only.

Native Pocket Planting: Boulevard 722M

Small native pollinator planting, installed within a boulevard, designed to benefit pollinators through the season. Use this practice for Lawns to Legumes grants only.

Nutrient Management


Managing the amount (rate), source, placement (method of application), and timing of applications of plant nutrients, manure, and other soil amendments. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 590.

Nutrient Management Plan


Development of a plan for nutrient management, including recommendations for rate, source, placement, and timing of plant nutrients and soils amendments.

Obstruction Removal


Removal and disposal of  buildings, structures, other works of improvement, vegetation, debris, or other materials with the intention of improving or protecting water quality, managing water quantity, or reducing soil erosion.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 500.

Permeable Surfaces


Includes, but is not limited to: porous pavement, permeable concrete, pervious pavers, and other surfaces installed to enhance infiltration.

Pest Management


A site-specific combination of pest prevention, pest avoidance, pest monitoring, and pest suppression strategies. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 595.

Pollinator Lawn 724M A fine fescue lawn or other grasses mixed with low-growing flowers to support pollinators. Use this practice for Lawns to Legumes grants only.
Pollinator Meadow 725M

A relatively large expanse of native plants, reminiscent of a prairie plant community. Use this practice for Lawns to Legumes grants only.

Policy Development


The development of local land use regulations related to protection or improvement of water quality or the reduction of soil erosion.  Includes, but not limited to, the development of local ordinances.

Pond for Water Use


A water impoundment by constructing a dam or embankment or by excavating a pit or dugout.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 378.

Pond maintenance


Removal of accumulated sediments to restore functionality after the effective life or associated with flood recovery.

Pond, Push-up



Prescribed Burning


The use of controlled fire in a predetermined area to enhance or restore the desired vegetative condition. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 338.

Prescribed Grazing


Management-intensive system of controlled harvest of vegetation with grazing animals.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 556 and 528.



Includes development of and providing presentations.  Does not including attending presentations (use training code).



Includes development, printing, publishing, and distribution of materials.

Pumping Plant


A pumping facility installed to transfer water for a conservation need.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 533.

Ravine/Gully Inventory


Inventories of gullies and ravines.

Restoration and Management of Declining Habitats


Restoring, conserving, and managing unique or diminishing native terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 643.

Riparian Forest Buffer


An area predominantly trees and/or shrubs located adjacent to and upgradient from watercourses or waterbodies.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 391.

Riparian Herbaceous Cover


Grasses, grass-like plants and forbs that are tolerant of intermittent flooding or saturated soils and that are established or managed in the transitional zone between terrestrial and aquatic habitats.  Includes NRCS practice(s) 322 and 390.

Roof Runoff Management


Structures that collect, control, and transport precipitation from roofs.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 558; does not include green roofs.

Rotational Grazing



Saturated Buffer


A saturated buffer is a vegetated, riparian buffer in which the water table is artificially raised by diverting much of the water from a subsurface drainage system.

Sediment Basin


A basin constructed with an engineered outlet formed by an embankment or excavation or combination of the two. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 350.

Septic System Improvement


Improvements that repair or replace subsurface sewage treatment systems (SSTS).

Sinkhole Treatment


The treatment of sinkholes in karst areas to reduce contamination of groundwater resources.

SSTS Inventory


Inventories of subsurface sewage treatment systems (SSTS).

Staff Time


The hourly wage, fringe benefits, and other real costs associated with providing a local government staff person or contractor to work on a specified practice or activity for a specified period of time, and as allowed by the specific grant program.

Storage and Treatment Wetland Restoration


A wetland restoration having a primary focus on storage and treatment of surface and subsurface drainage water to reduce peak flows, erosion, and nutrient and sediment transport to receiving waters.  This activity requires a perpetual flowage and conservation easement to be held by the Chapter 103E drainage system.

Storm Water Retention Basins


Wet ponds or constructed wetland treatment systems for the removal of sediment.

Stream Channel Stabilization


Measures used to stabilize the bed or bottom of a channel.  Includes NRCS practice(s) 584.

Streambank and Shoreline Protection


Treatment(s) used to stabilize and protect banks of streams or constructed channels, and shorelines of lakes, reservoirs, or estuaries.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 580.

Street Sweeping


Equipment Upgrades. Street sweeping equipment upgrades such as vacuum, regenerative air, and high-efficiency/new technology street sweepers.



Growing planned rotations of row crops, forages, small grains, or fallow in a systematic arrangement of equal width strips across a field. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 585.

Structure for Water Control


A structure in a water management system that conveys water, controls the direction or rate of flow, maintains a desired surface water elevation or measures water. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 587.

Subwatershed Analysis


Analysis completed to identify targeted areas within a larger watershed for installation of best management practices.

Surface Water Monitoring


Monitoring of surface waters; may include lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, etc.



Collection of quantitative or qualitative data about a population.



An earth embankment, or combination ridge and channel, constructed across the field slope. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 600.

Tile System Design


Selecting tile system parameters that acknowledge the tradeoffs between agronomic benefit and environmental impacts.



Includes staff costs for attending training.  Does not include development of or providing training to others - use workshops/clinics or presentation code.

Tree/Shrub Establishment


Establishing woody plants by planting seedlings, cuttings, or container/potted plants; not for direct seeding or natural regeneration. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 612.

Turf Management


Management of turfed areas for stormwater volume and pollutant reduction.

Upland Wildlife Habitat Management


Provide and manage upland habitats and connectivity within the landscape for wildlife. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 645.

Vegetated Treatment Area


An area of permanent vegetation used to improve water quality by reducing loading of nutrients, organics, pathogens, and other contaminants associated with livestock, poultry, and other agricultural operations.

Walk-In Access



Waste Facility Cover


A rigid, semi-rigid, or flexible manufactured membrane, composite material, or roof structure placed over a waste management facility.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 367.

Waste Management System


A planned system in which all necessary components are installed for properly managing liquid and solid waste including runoff from concentrated waste areas. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 312.

Waste Storage Facility


A waste storage impoundment made by constructing an embankment and/or excavating a pit or dugout, or by fabricating a structure - for temporary storage. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 313.

Waste Treatment


The mechanical, chemical, or biological treatment of milking center wastewater.  Includes NRCS practice(s) 629.

Waste Utilization


Using agricultural wastes such as manure and wastewater or other organic residues.  Includes NRCS practice(s) 633.

Water and Sediment Control Basin


An earth embankment, or combination ridge and channel, generally constructed across the slope and minor watercourses to form a sediment trap and water detention basin.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 638.

Water Reuse


A facility for catching, storing, and reusing precipitation.

Water Well


A hole drilled, dug, driven, bored, jetted, or otherwise constructed to an aquifer for water supply.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 642.

Watering Facility


A permanent or portable device to provide an adequate amount and quality of drinking water for livestock and/or wildlife. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 614.

Well Decommissioning


The sealing and permanent closure of an inactive, abandoned, or unusable water well.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 351.

Wetland Creation


Constructed wetlands, sometimes called treatment wetlands, are man-made systems engineered to approximate the water-cleansing process of natural wetlands. Includes NRCS Practices 656 and 658.

Wetland Inventory


Inventory of wetlands.

Wetland Restoration


A rehabilitation of a degraded wetland where the soils, hydrology, vegetative community, and biological habitat are returned to the natural condition to the extent practicable. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 657.

Wetland Wildlife Habitat Management


Retaining, developing, or managing wetland habitat for wetland wildlife.

Wildlife Habitat Planting 420 Used to establish native or nonnative herbaceous vegetation and shrubs, or reestablish native and historic habitat communities, in order to improve wildlife habitat. Should not be used for tree or forage establishment, wetland restoration projects, or conservation systems where erosion control or water quality is the primary resource concern.

Windbreak/Shelterbelt Establishment


Linear planting of single or multiple rows of trees or shrubs or sets of linear plantings.  Includes NRCS Practice(s) 380.

Windbreak/Shelterbelt Renovation


Replacing, adding, and/or removing selected branches, trees and/or shrubs or rows within an existing windbreak or shelterbelt. Includes NRCS Practice(s) 650.



Includes development of and providing workshops and clinics.  Does not including attending workshops or clinics (use training code).


If the subcategory you are looking for is not in this list, contact your Board Conservationist or submit a request for a new category to elinksupport@state.mn.us with the subject line of “Suggestions for Improvement.”


Gwen Steel
Grants and Reporting Specialist