Mary Talbot Prairie Field Trip New Boston, Bowie County Saturday June 8, 8:30 – 11:00 AM The Native Prairies Association…Read more of this >>
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Today the tallgrass prairies of Texas are very rare. Less than 1% of the original 20 million acres of Texas’ beautiful tallgrass prairie remains and losses are still occurring to plowing, improper overgrazing, and development.
US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Programs
• Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) - A voluntary land retirement program that helps agricultural producers protect environmentally sensitive land, decrease erosion, restore wildlife habitat, and safeguard ground and surface water.
• Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) - Provides emergency funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters and for carrying out emergency water conservation measures in periods of severe drought. Funding for ECP is appropriated by Congress
• Farmable Wetlands Program (FWP) - A voluntary program to restore up to one million acres of farmable wetlands and associated buffers by improving the land’s hydrology and vegetation. Eligible producers in all states can enroll eligible land in the FWP through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Producers plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion and enhance wildlife habitat on land enrolled in CRP.
• Source Water Protection Program (SWPP) - A joint project by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the nonprofit National Rural Water Association (NRWA), is designed to help prevent source water pollution in 43 states through voluntary practices installed by producers as local levels.
Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Programs
• Agricultural Energy Management Plan (AgEMP) - The 2008 Farm Bill provides authority to use Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) financial assistance funds for payment of practices and conservation activities involving the development of an Agricultural Energy Management Plan (AgEMP) appropriate for the eligible land of a program participant. The Farm Bill statute allows EQIP payments for the estimated incurred cost of gathering audit information and the development of an AgEMP meeting agency standards and requirements.
• Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) - A voluntary conservation initiative that provides financial and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers to improve water conditions on their agricultural land.
• Conservation Innovation Grant program (CIG) - A voluntary program intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production. Under CIG, Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds are used to award competitive grants to non-Federal governmental or non-governmental organizations, Tribes, or individuals.
• Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) - Annual rental payments for planting permanent vegetation on highly erodible farmland.
• Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) - The NRCS is the US Department of Agriculture’s principal agency for providing conservation technical assistance to private landowners, conservation districts, tribes, and other organizations. The NRCS delivers conservation technical assistance through its voluntary Conservation Technical Assistance Program. CTA is available to any group or individual interested in conserving our natural resources and sustaining agricultural production in this country. The CTA program functions through a national network of locally-based, professional conservationists located in nearly every county of the United States.
• Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) - A voluntary conservation initiative that enables the use of certain conservation programs with resources of eligible partners to provide financial and technical assistance to owners and operators of agricultural and nonindustrial private forest lands.
• Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) - The purpose of the Emergency Watershed Protection program is to undertake emergency measures, including the purchase of flood plain easements, for runoff retardation and soil erosion prevention to safeguard lives and property from floods, drought, and the products of erosion on any watershed whenever fire, flood or any other natural occurrence is causing or has caused a sudden impairment of the watershed.
• Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) - A voluntary conservation program that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality; farmers and ranchers may receive financial and technical help to install or implement structural and management conservation practices on eligible agricultural land.
• Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) - Provides matching funds to help purchase development rights to keep productive farm and ranchland in agricultural uses. Working through existing programs, USDA partners with State, tribal, or local governments and non-governmental organizations to acquire conservation easements or other interests in land from landowners. USDA provides up to 50 percent of the fair market easement value of the conservation easement.
• Grasslands Reserve Program (GRP) - A voluntary conservation program that emphasizes support for working grazing operations, enhancement of plant and animal biodiversity, and protection of grassland under threat of conversion to other uses.
• Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) - A nationwide collaborative process of individuals and organizations working to maintain and improve the management, productivity, and health of the Nation’s privately owned grazing land. This process has formed coalitions that represent the grass root concerns that impact private grazing land. The coalitions actively seek sources to increase technical assistance and public awareness activities that maintain or enhance grazing land resources
• Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative (MBHI) - Through the Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative, NRCS will work with farmers, ranchers, and other landowners to develop and enhance habitat for birds making their annual migration south towards the Gulf of Mexico.
• Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) - The purpose of the Resource Conservation and Development program is to accelerate the conservation, development and utilization of natural resources, improve the general level of economic activity, and to enhance the environment and standard of living in designated RC&D areas.
• Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) - A voluntary program offering landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands on their property.
• Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) - A voluntary program for conservation-minded landowners who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat on agricultural land, nonindustrial private forest land, and Tribal land
US Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) Programs
• Candidate Conservation Agreements - A voluntary conservation agreement between the USFWS and one or more public or private parties. The Service works with its partners to identify threats to candidate species, plan the measures needed to address the threats and conserve these species, identify willing landowners, develop agreements, and design and implement conservation measures and monitor their effectiveness.
• Conservation Banking - Conservation banks are permanently protected lands that contain natural resource values. These lands are conserved and permanently managed for species that are endangered, threatened, candidates for listing as endangered or threatened, or are otherwise species-at-risk. Conservation banks function to offset adverse impacts to these species that occurred elsewhere, sometimes referred to as off-site mitigation. In exchange for permanently protecting the land and managing it for these species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approves a specified number of habitat or species credits that bank owners may sell.
• Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP) - Habitat Conservation Plans under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act provide for partnerships with non-Federal parties to conserve the ecosystems upon which listed species depend, ultimately contributing to their recovery. HCPs are planning documents required as part of an application for an incidental take permit. They describe the anticipated effects of the proposed taking; how those impacts will be minimized, or mitigated; and how the HCP is to be funded. HCPs can apply to both listed and nonlisted species, including those that are candidates or have been proposed for listing.
• Recovery Credit System (RCS) - A Recovery Credit System is a tool available to Federal agencies to promote and enhance the recovery of listed species on non-Federal lands. Using RCSs, Federal agencies are able to more clearly show how benefits accrued on non-Federal lands offset unavoidable effects of Federal actions elsewhere. However, in an RCS the combined effects of both adverse and beneficial actions must achieve a net benefit to the recovery of the species.
• Safe Harbor Agreements - A voluntary agreement involving private or other non-Federal property owners whose actions contribute to the recovery of species listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Programs
• Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) - The Texas Landowner Incentive Program is designed to meet the needs of private landowners wishing to enact good conservation practices on their lands. As a program, LIP efforts are focused on projects aimed at creating, restoring, protecting and enhancing habitat for rare or at-risk-species throughout the state. Funds can be used for projects such as habitat enhancement (restoring native vegetation, prescribed burns, selective brush management, grazing management systems, etc.) or habitat protection (protecting ecologically sensitive areas, gating caves, etc.).
• Section 6 Traditional Grants - Funds for these Federal Assistance grants are provided by Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act, and are administered cooperatively between TPWD and the Endangered Species Program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
• Section 6 Competitive (Nontraditional) Grants - Section 6 Competitive Grants are funds made available to state wildlife agencies through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (CESCF) from Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act (Department of Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; hereafter “USFWS”) for the conservation of threatened and endangered species. The CESCF programs are authorized through Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq., as amended. The codified program regulations can be found at 50 CFR 81. Full description of the federal RFP is available here.
• State Wildlife Grants and Horned Lizard License Plate Grants for Conservation Action - The State Wildlife Grants Program is a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department-distributed conservation fund under the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. HLLP grants are sourced from Texas conservation license plate sales. All SWG and HLLP conservation actions must implement the 2005 Texas Wildlife Action Plan (Action Plan). Eligible and ineligible general actions for SWG are defined by the 2007 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Guidelines. Specific projects and guidance from the Action Plan are listed in the Conservation Action Priorities document for SWG and HLLP.
• Wildlife Research Grants - These grants are provided to encourage the independent study of wildlife in the state of Texas. If the proposed research does not request any TPWD grant funding, in-kind or personnel support then it need not be approved through this application review process. However, all other federal and state permitting or licensing requirements would still apply (i.e., handling, collecting, banding, marking or taking of migratory birds, threatened and endangered species or animal welfare requirements, etc).The Wildlife Division has identified both general and specific research priority needs. Specific research topics are those for which we have provided specific ‘calls for research proposals’. These will be considered for funding before those proposals submitted for general topics. However, topics within these lists are not prioritized.
Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) Programs
• Family Land Heritage - The Family Land Heritage Program honors farms and ranches that have been in continuous agricultural operation by the same family for 100 years or more. The program is designed to recognize and chronicle the unique history of Texas agriculture and the men and women who settled this great state and continue the tradition today.