Nebraska wildlife and conservation groups want to see more land currently held within expiring conservation reserve program contracts stay in grassland. To that end, a new partnership has been created to provide added incentives to those landowners. The partnership is called the Water Quality & Grassland Recovery Program.
The incentives program offers landowners a 75% to 100% cost-share for the following management practices: stock tanks, water wells, pipeline, prescribed fire, pollinator habitat and interior cross-fencing, says Pete Berthelsen, senior coordinator for Pheasants Forever in Nebraska.
"The partnership offers additional incentives so that landowners interested in developing a planned grazing system on expiring CRP contracts or portions of expiring CRP contacts can receive assistance to help maintain the environmental benefits associated with grassland cover on highly erodible acres," he says.
Under the program, interested landowners with expiring CRPs will transition the land into a planned grazing system for a minimum of five years.
"Developing and implementing a planned grazing system can retain most of the soil, water and wildlife benefits received from the original CRP contract," according to Berthelsen.
To get to the 75 to 100% of practice costs, local and state funds will be combined with funds available from the EQIP. For prescribed burns and establishment of pollinator habitat, the 100% cost-share level is available. For stock tanks, pipelines, cross-fencing and water sell, 75% cost-share is available.
For perimeter fencing and brush and tree removal, cost-sharing is available through the regular EQIP program.
"Funding for this partnership is limited, so interested landowners should apply soon," Berthelsen says.
Funding assistance for the partnership is being supplied by NRCS, Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever chapters and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
You can apply by contacting a Pheasants Forever wildlife biologist at 308-754-5339 or go online at www.NebraskaPF.com. Those biologists can provide more information about the program and how to apply for the assistance.