February 20, 2018 / Uncategorized / Jamie Tiralla

Applications due by March 16 to local Natural Resources Conservation Service offices

Annapolis, Md., February 15, 2018 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is encouraging farmers and forest landowners to submit applications for conservation programs associated with the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

Farmers and forestland owners may apply for conservation funding at any time throughout the year, but funding selections are made at specific times and the second 2018 sign-up deadline for RCPP projects is March 16, 2018.

Maryland currently offers RCPP in selected areas across the state through eight projects that range in focus, from animal waste management practices, to streamside buffers, to wildlife habitat restoration. The following projects currently have funding available:

Accelerating Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plans: Offered in partnership with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, this project addresses animal waste management concerns in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and helps farmers implement practices to avoid winter application of manure. Producers that are interested in waste storage facilities, pumping plants, heavy use areas, and solid/liquid waste separation facilities are encouraged to apply.

Cerulean Warbler Appalachian Forestland Enhancement: Offered in partnership with the American Bird Conservancy, this project will focus on suites of conservation practices intended to enhance acres of forest habitat on private lands for cerulean warblers, an at-risk species, and associated species by addressing habitat loss, soil health, and water quality. Producers and/or landowners that are interested in enrolling additional acres into easements, and increasing forest biodiversity are encouraged to apply.

Comprehensive Watershed Conservation in Dairy and Livestock Landscapes of the Chesapeake Bay: Offered in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, this project will address both water quality degradation and inadequate habitat for fish and wildlife through a combination of comprehensive conservation planning, conservation practice implementation, and strategic habitat restoration. Producers in Washington County that are interested in waste storage facilities, pumping plants, heavy use areas, and solid/liquid waste separation facilities are encouraged to apply.

Delmarva Whole System Conservation Partnership- Field to Stream: Offered in partnership with the The Nature Conservancy and the Delaware Maryland Agribusiness Association, this project will increase the implementation of advanced nutrient management practices and restoration of wetlands to reduce excess nutrients to the Chesapeake Bay. The project will also use science-based targeting of these practices to increase their effectiveness. Private landowners located in the Blackwater, Choptank, Nanticoke, Pocomoke and Wicomico watersheds that are interested in advanced nutrient management and wetland easements and restoration are encouraged to apply.

Engaging Small AFO’s in the Nutrient Management Process: This project seeks to reduce nutrient and sediment loss associated with small dairy AFOs by encouraging the development and implementation of CNMPs. It is available state-wide to small dairy operations interested in developing comprehensive nutrient management plans and implementing plan practices, including: waste storage structures, animal mortality facilities, heavy use areas, barnyard runoff practices, animal exclusion practices, and enhanced nutrient management (such as manure injection), among others.

Mason-Dixon Working Lands Partnership: Offered in partnership with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, this project builds on USDA’s commitment to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed by taking a whole-farm approach to conservation implementation to address the unique needs of both forest and agricultural land owners. The project is designed to help farmers meet their conservation goals and using incentives to implement riparian forest buffers and stream fencing. Producers that are interested in riparian forest buffers, forest stand improvement or forest management plans in addition to other conservation practices are encouraged to apply.
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Meeting WIP Goals in the Chesapeake Bay: Offered in cooperation with the Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts, this project seeks to accelerate the installation of best management practices to enable Maryland farmers to meet the nutrient and sediment water quality goals set forth in the Chesapeake Bay TMDL. It is available to producers in Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Caroline, Talbot, Dorchester, Wicomico, Somerset and Worcester, Washington, Frederick, Howard and Montgomery counties who are interested in animal waste storage, stream fencing, heavy use areas, liquid separation technology, and advanced nutrient management practices.

Promoting Rotational Grazing: The objective of the project is to increase adoption of rotational grazing and complementary practices by converting cropland to pasture or moving existing continuous grazing operations to more intensive rotational grazing systems to address water quality degradation in the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac watersheds. It is available to producers in Carroll, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery and Washington counties.

A conservation plan should be completed before an application can be considered for funding, so farmers are encouraged to call or stop by their local NRCS field office as soon as possible. USDA Service Center locations are listed online at http://offices.usda.gov or in the phone book under Federal Government, U.S. Department of Agriculture. General program information is available on the NRCS Maryland website at www.md.nrcs.usda.gov.

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