Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service
What is CREP
The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP is a joint State-Federal conservation partnership program targeted to address specific State and nationally significant water quality, soil erosion, and wildlife habitat issues related to agriculture use. CREP utilizes the successful Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) which is administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) to provide financial incentives to landowners to voluntarily enroll in contracts 10 to 15 years of duration to remove lands from agricultural production. The State of Ohio is proposing to provide additional incentives to encourage participation into the CREP.
The Western Lake Erie Watershed has been identified as a potential area for the CREP program. The area is intensively cultivated and water quality problems are present in the Western Lake Erie basin. The area identified encompasses approximately 6 million acres. The following major watersheds in Ohio are: Maumee River, Sandusky River, Portage River, Huron River, Vermillion River, and the Black River.
Improve Water Quality
The project will improve water quality by reducing sediment pollution, nutrient loading, and flood damage through installation of riparian buffers, filter strips, windbreaks, and wetlands and other best management practices. The goal is to enroll 67,000 acres into the program.
The annual costs for this proposed 10-year program are $16,754,500 for the Federal government and $3,359,900 of cash and in-kind assistance from the State of Ohio.
Technical Assistance by NRCS
Many of the technical recommendations are made by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service in working with planning and application of the conservation measures with private landowners. NRCS provides assistance that makes it possible for private landowners to install the measures they need to enroll in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program. To ensure success of CREP, USDA's NRCS needs adequate technical assistance funds to complete its responsibilities for the program.