SERCD awarded 600K

Conservation district to use grant for Upper North Platte watershed restoration efforts

 


The Saratoga Encampment Rawlins Conservation District (SERCD) was recently awarded a $600,000 grant from the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) through the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) for the Upper North Platte Watershed Restoration.

According to the NRCS website, the mission of the RCPP is to “coordination between NRCS and its partners to deliver conservation assistance to producers and landowners.”

SERCD was allotted $600,000 for watershed restoration efforts within the North Platte region. SERCD’s grant overview from the NRCS website summarizes the mission for the awarded funds. “With regards to agricultural production, this watershed-wide restoration will minimize land loss from river bank erosion, assure irrigation water delivery, provide off-channel watering as applicable, establish riparian fencing and seek deferred riparian grazing agreements with producers while native riparian plants re-establish.”

Joe Parsons, Supervisory Resource Specialist from SERCD, stressed the importance of having the RCPP grant money available on a project basis or as-need basis for agricultural producing landowners.

According to Parsons, the RCPP funding will allow agricultural producing landowners experiencing severe environmental damage—due to hydrologic factors—to access the funding they need much quicker.

“The problem is when you have a high water year, you’ve got a willing landowner that needs something done right now. By the time you go through the grant writing and NEPA [National Environmental Policy Act] process, all those deadlines for construction on the project is at least two years out. Landowners don’t have the time to wait for that and they don’t want to wait for that.”


Although no eligible projects have been identified to proceed this year, Parsons said about 10 projects within the Upper North Platte Water Restoration are being considered by SERCD as eligible for RCPP funding.

Additional information regarding the RCPP grant program can be found online at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/farmbill/rcpp/.

 

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