FLORESVILLE, Texas — The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office at 1106 10th St, in Floresville, is accepting applications from landowners, land managers and other entities in Wilson County for the Gulf Coast Conservation Reserve Program (GCCRP). The GCCRP project originated as a part of the recovery effort after the April 20, 2010, Horizon Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The program is designed to develop conservation plans with best management practices to improve water quality and wildlife habitat with conservation buffers on riparian areas on identified impaired stream segments in four contiguous Hydrologic Unit Core (HUCs) areas covering just over 80,000 acres.
“For the USDA side, the Gulf Coast Restoration Council created the GCCRP with $6 million total dollars for four of the five Gulf states,” said Darren Richardson, NRCS acting state conservationist for Texas. “Each state had the opportunity to have $1.5 million to develop a project involving water quality and wildlife habitat.”
The first round of applications are due Nov. 22, 2019, with funding in December. The second application deadline is Feb. 3, 2020, with funding in March. The third application deadline will be April 6, 2020, with funding in May. The last application deadline is July 13, 2020, with funding in August.
In Texas, project partners include the San Antonio River Authority and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, who along with local USDA NRCS staff, chose the site in Wilson County with impaired stream segments in the San Antonio River Basin – Cibolo Creek areas near Stockdale, Texas.
“These funds will allow entities within these HUC boundaries to restore, protect and improve the natural resources, ecosystems, and wildlife habitats on their land, which will result in downstream benefits of improved fisheries, marine, coastal wetlands, and beaches as well as the economy of the Gulf Coast region,” said Jason Katcsmorak, Wilson County NRCS district conservationist.
The Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act (RESTORE Act) project funds are not subject to Farm Bill rules. Project funding to producers will be based on a modified payment schedule similar to the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program payment schedule. Any entity can apply, and all applications will be competitively ranked for funding. The project will last five years.
For more information on the GCCRP, contact the NRCS office in Floresville at 830-393-3555 ext. 3. For other conservation assistance programs for your agricultural land, please visit NRCS your local USDA Service Center.
–USDA NRCS Texas
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