https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs-initiatives/eqip-environmental-quality-incentives/florida/environmental-quality-incentivesNorthern Florida landowners interested in protecting the conservation values of their land will soon be able to apply for land management. Contracts, funded by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Florida, are through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), as facilitated by the Alachua Conservation Trust (ACT).
The ACT announced nearly $563,000 in funding is available for land management projects through the Surface to Springs Project Area. Applications will be accepted by ACT until March 1, 2023. Applications received after this date may be considered for the following fiscal year if funds allow.
Awards function like NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) contracts and are paid at a 100 percent cost rate.
“Successful applications will be within the Surface to Springs project area and address natural resource goals – ensuring long-term protection of land, source water depletion, and aquatic habitat,” said Juan C. Hernandez, state conservationist for NRCS in Florida.
“We are excited to partner with NRCS in facilitating the Surface to Springs RCPP. This funding allows us to implement land management practices on private lands that make conservation and restoration a priority, optimizing wildlife habitat and rare natural communities to the benefit of surface and groundwater,” Erica Hernandez Conservation Director, Alachua Conservation Trust.
Conservation practices include but are not limited to:
- Agricultural lands: prescribed grazing, nutrient management, cover crop, cropland conversion to grass, irrigation water management, and well decommission
- Forest management: longleaf planting, prescribed fire, and brush management
Lands eligible for this RCPP project include non-industrial forest lands, agricultural lands, lands with natural habitats, or a mix of all three. ACT will screen for land eligibility, coordinate with landowners to develop project applications, negotiate conservation terms with landowners, and develop a land management plan.
To apply for the Surface to Springs Project, please email Surface2SpringsRCPP@alachuaconservationtrust.org.