Communities throughout California will receive $7.2 million for projects to fight erosion, improve air and water quality, enhance wildlife habitat, thin fire fuel loads and prevent flooding and other resource issues. The funds are made available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), established by Congress as the central conservation program under the 1996 Farm Bill.
Fifty-eight locally led initiatives will receive $6.2 million for projects referred to as "Geographic Priority Areas." These 5-10 year projects combine technical and financial assistance to place conservation measures on private land. Additionally, $915,000 will be divided between farmers and ranchers engaged in statewide efforts to improve air quality, rangeland and forest land. These funds are targeted for specific counties where critical needs have been identified.
Interested landowners in eligible areas can apply for conservation cost share assistance by visiting their local U.S. Department of Agriculture Service Center. Practices vary widely depending upon local goals and include measures from water conservation systems to forest thinning to installing fish screens in irrigation systems.
"Enabling producers to voluntarily address the environmental concerns on their land benefits everyone," says Henry Wyman, Interim State Conservationist for California. "Their efforts help to improve natural resources throughout California."
edited by Sandy Smith ([email protected])