TEMPLE, Texas — The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas is accepting applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) as part of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Three RCPP projects are being included in this effort: The Oaks and Prairies Joint Venture (OPJV) – Grassland Restoration Incentives Program (GRIP) Partnership; the Gulf Coast Water and Wildlife (GCWW) RCPP and Hill Country Headwaters Conservation Initiative (HCHCI) RCPP. A total of nearly $1.8 million has been set aside for these projects in Texas.
These special RCPP EQIP initiatives are open to applicants in the Texas counties that have been described and approved as focal counties for each of these projects. The application deadline is April 3 for both the OPJV-GRIP and GCWW RCPP and May 15 for the HCHCI RCPP. All applications must be received by NRCS Field Offices by the deadline date to be considered for those funding cycles. All interested and eligible producers in the project’s identified counties are encouraged to apply.
The OPJV-GRIP RCPP project is available for production acreage in 30 counties: Archer, Austin, Baylor, Callahan, Clay, Colorado, Delta, Dewitt, Edwards, Ellis, Fayette, Fannin, Gonzales, Hunt, Karnes, Kinney, Lamar, Lavaca, Montague, Navarro, Real, Red River, Shackelford, Stephens, Throckmorton, Uvalde, Val Verde, Washington, Wilson and Wise counties. The NRCS EQIP assists landowners and producers who voluntarily implement conservation and management practices that aim to improve the conservation elements of their agriculture and grazing lands.
Through the GCWW RCPP, sponsored by USA Rice and Ducks Unlimited, rice producers in 12 Texas counties can apply for financial assistance to make on-farm improvements through the program. Eligible counties include Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, DeWitt, Fort Bend, Galveston, Jackson, Jefferson, Lavaca, Liberty, Matagorda, Refugio, Victoria, Waller and Wharton. A priority emphasis is placed on Colorado, Wharton, and Matagorda counties where surface water conservation is critical. Practices such as irrigation land levelling and water-control structures are the highest priority practices for rice farms using surface water. Elevated conservation planning efforts will be delivered by project partners. In addition to the special funding opportunity through RCPP, supplementary EQIP funding is also available in all of these counties. All rice producers are encouraged to apply.
The HCHCI RCPP funds will be directed towards key land stewardship projects that fall within the Blanco, Upper San Marcos and Llano River basins, and within areas of the Middle Colorado River basin, including portions of Blanco, Comal, Edwards, Gillespie, Hays, Kendall, Kerr, Kimble, Llano, Mason, Menard, Sutton and Travis counties. Funding is geared toward landowners who wish to carry out conservation practices to enhance water resources, soil health, wildlife habitat and long-term productivity in the project area.
Producers should visit their local USDA service center before the first application pool closes on April 3, 2020, to apply for this opportunity. If funding permits, a second application pool will close May 15, 2020. If already a USDA client, a producer can submit applications online via Conservation Client Gateway.
EQIP is the flagship conservation program for NRCS, and RCPP helps to expand the reach of this vital conservation program. For more information please visit our RCCP webpage under Farm Bill Programs, contact a local USDA service center or visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted.
–USDA NRCS Texas
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