Government Conservation Programs

Government Conservation Programs

Government Conservation Programs Ethan Massey Waterfowl Biologist, Ducks Unlimited Inc. Outline Intro Why the government offers conservation programs Why people would enroll in them Farm Bill updates

Most important programs for waterfowl WRE/WRP CRP EQIP CSP

Introduction Biologist with DU Jointly funded by NRCS and AGFC Provide technical assistance to private landowners Masters from UAM; Bachelors from LSU I have worked on various waterfowl research projects in LA, AR, ND, and Canada

Why Conservation Programs? 65% of land in the US is privately owned 88% in Arkansas Conservation must be done on private land to be successful Wildlife habitat

Sustainable water use Reduction of water pollutants Conservation programs create financial incentives for private landowners to implement these changes Farm Bill The Agricultural Improvements Act of 2018 (Farm Bill) is an important piece of legislation that provides funding for many conservation programs

Updated every 4 years Most recent was just approved $428 billion budget over 5 years Conservation gets 6.8% 29.1 billion dollars Farm Bill Updates

ACEP Agricultural Conservation Easement Program Funding increased by 2 billion WRE county enrollment cap increased from 10 to 15% CRP Conservation Reserve Program Enrollment cap raised from 24 to 27 million acres Grazing allowed on enrolled lands

EQIP Environmental Quality Incentives Program Funding set aside from EQIP budget for wildlife increased from 5 to 10% Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) Formerly WRP Established in 1990 Under the Agricultural Conservation Easement

Program (ACEP) Targets marginal, frequently flooded croplands Long term easements 30-year or permanent Restores them by creating wetlands and planting trees Paid for by NRCS Over 700,000 acres enrolled in AR, LA, & MS

Administered by NRCS Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) Objectives: Habitat for migratory birds and other wetland-dependent wildlife, including endangered or threatened species and species of concern. Protection and improvement of water quality.

Attenuation of floodwater. Recharge of ground water. Protection and enhancement of open space and aesthetic quality. Carbon sequestration. Protection of native flora and fauna contributing to the Nation's natural heritage.

Contribution to educational and scientific scholarship Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) Competitive enrollment Not everyone gets in

Eligibility: Farmed Lands, Former Wetlands, Grasslands, CRP Enrollment points: Easement Duration- perpetual or 30 yr. Hydrology Restoration- restoration or enhancement & restoration diversity Water Quality- Riparian Corridor & Floodwater Attenuation Location Significance- Proximity & Size of protected lands Wildlife Habitat- Contiguous Forest, Forest Bird Conservation Areas, & Declining, Threatened, or Endangered Species Wetland Reserve

Easements (WRE) This is a real estate transaction Gov. is basically buying the surface rights Rights retained by the landowner: Quiet Enjoyment Undeveloped Hunting & Fishing

Mineral rights Control of Access Title Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE)

Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) 2017 Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Program aimed at removing marginal farm ground from production

Administered by Farm Service Agency (FSA) 10 or 15 year contracts After the contract ends the owner can re-enroll or go back to farming Landowner is paid an annual rental rate per acre enrolled 22 million acres in US

~215,000 acres in AR Established in 1985 Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Important Initiatives for Waterfowl: Wintering Grounds Breeding Grounds

Wetland Restoration (CP23) Duck Nesting Habitat (CP 37) Bottomland Timber Establishment (CP31) Establishment of Grasslands (CP 1 and 2) Conservation Reserve

Program (CRP) Rental rates vary widely based on location and soil type Often there is a $150/acre sign-up bonus Typically 90% of restoration costs are paid Tree planting

Wetland creation Native grasses establishment Accomplishments: 25.7 million additional ducks from 1992-2003 Reduced over 8 billion tons of soil erosion Filtered 365 million pounds of nitrogen and 72 million pounds of phosphorous

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Financial and technical assistance provided to producers to implement conservation practices Administered by NRCS

Paid for specific practice Goals: Examples of practices: Improve air and water quality Prescribed burning

Conserve water Irrigation improvements Reduce soil erosion / sedimentation Wetland creation and restoration Create wildlife habitat

Cover crops Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Pretty similar to EQIP Financial and technical assistance for producers to maintain and improve existing conservation plans The higher the conservation performance the more you get paid

Administered by NRCS Both EQIP and CSP are promoted by DUs Rice Stewardship Program Rice Stewardship Partnership between Ducks Unlimited and USA Rice Federation Aides producers in navigating and adhering to EQIP and CSP practices

Winter flooding for waterfowl Improved water management Improved nutrient management Acres affected so far ~400,000 Summary WRE long-term land retirement, large lump sum, gov.

owns surface rights CRP 10 to 15 year land retirement, annual rental payments, important in PPR EQIP working lands, paid according to practices implemented CSP working lands, paid to improve existing conservation practices Questions?

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