NRCS Seeks to Assist Bi-State Area Ranchers
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) – Livestock in Harmony with Bi-State Sage-Grouse project. This RCPP project contains two funding streams: one from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and one from the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). All ACEP funds under this agreement have been expended, however limited EQIP funding is still available. The deadline for EQIP applications is June 19, 2020.
The purpose of the Livestock in Harmony with Bi-State Sage-Grouse RCPP is to assist agricultural producers as they plan and adopt conservation practices that will restore sage-grouse and other wildlife habitats, improve agricultural water quality, conserve private ranchlands and upgrade agricultural infrastructure. The RCPP prioritizes those conservation practices in the Bi-State area that focus on the implementation of pasture and rangeland management practices to improve:
- Water Quality
- Sage-Grouse Habitat
- Rangeland Ecosystems
The Bi-State region includes portions of Douglas, Lyon, Carson City, Mineral, and Esmeralda Counties in Nevada, and portions of Inyo, Mono, and Alpine Counties of California—in total, an area of 7,000 square miles. The Bi-State encompasses an area approximately 170 miles long and up to 60 miles wide. Private landowners, and, under some circumstances, ranchers with the authority to operate on public lands (e.g. a grazing lease or permit) are eligible for assistance. Please refer to the map for the boundaries of this RCPP.
The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) was created as part of the 2014 Farm Bill. The purpose of RCPP is to demonstrate the power of well-designed, public-private partnerships to maximize the impact of federal conservation programs.
EQIP is a voluntary, conservation program administered by NRCS that can provide financial and technical assistance to install conservation practices that address natural resource concerns. The purpose of EQIP is to promote agricultural production, forest management, and environmental quality as compatible goals; to optimize environmental benefits; and to help farmers and ranchers meet Federal, State, Tribal, and local environmental regulations.
The EQIP funds are to assist with land improvements that will help address the following resource concerns: soil erosion, soil quality degradation, insufficient water, water quality degradation, inadequate habitat for fish and wildlife, and air quality impacts.
ABOUT THE PARTNERSHIP:
The Livestock in Harmony with Bi-State Sage Grouse RCPP brings together many partners: Eastern Sierra Land Trust, Eastern Sierra Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, Mono County Resource Conservation District, Mono County, Nevada Department of Wildlife, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, United States Geological Survey, NRCS and private landowners in an effort to leverage additional funding to conserve working ranches and farms in the Bi-State sage grouse area that borders the Eastern Sierra in Nevada and California.