Our Process

SOC helps develop WI-specific conservation standards such as this practice of planting crops perpendicular to a field slope, which reduces erosion and increases water infiltration. Photo credit: NRCS

The SOC process for developing standards follows the framework detailed in the Technical Standards Process Handbook.  The SOC process is designed to:

  • Focus on science to ensure the quality of the standards and their effectiveness in protecting the environment and the general public;
  • Strive for uniformity in use of technical standards by securing broad participation and consensus in decision making;
  • Ensure openness and accountability in the process and the end products.

SOC uses three different processes to develop or revise a technical standard:

1.  Full Process.  The Full Process is used to develop a new technical standard or make major revisions to an existing technical standard (ones that will significantly alter the planning criteria, performance expectations, or design parameters). The process is iterative and subject to variation depending upon many factors, such as the complexity of the standard, the level of interest, and the availability of staff and/or financial resources.

2.  Modified Process.  The Modified Process is more simplified and less time consuming than the Full Process, but remains consistent with the guiding principles.  At a minimum, Modified process includes the Council members identify useful contributors to drafting process and a public, Broad Review.  This process will only be used by the Custodian for developing or updating a technical standard that SOC determines to meet at least one of the following criteria:  limited use, time sensitive, minimal impact, limited involvement, and/or limited resources.

3.  Minor Process.  The Minor Process consists of even fewer steps and is used when updating an existing technical standard with revisions that do not significantly alter the planning criteria, performance expectations or design parameters. This process is used to complete regularly scheduled reviews to ensure continued accuracy and compliance with applicable program rules or laws. Draft standards in the Minor Process will not be posted for a public review period. The Custodian will notify SOC when the updates are completed and published, and SOC will announce updates. If significant comments are received after the minor revisions are distributed, SOC may ask the Custodian to consider other revisions and/or use of the Modified Process.