County landowners urged to apply for NRCS funds

RBC I The Colorado Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications from state landowners interested in implementing conservation practices to improve natural resources on farmland and wetland areas through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP).
Deadline for applications is Jan. 17 to be considered for 2014 funding.
Submitted eligible applications received after Jan. 17 will be considered during a later time and will be processed throughout the fiscal year as needed.
“We accept applications for these programs on a continuous basis, however, only the applications received by Jan. 17 will be considered for funding this fiscal year,” said Phyllis Ann Philipps, the Colorado NRCS State Conservationist in Denver.
The NRCS may also provide technical and financial assistance to landowners under its national and landscape conservation initiatives.
Conservation planning services through a Technical Service Provider (TSP) to develop Conservation Activity Plans (CAP) can be developed for producers to identify conservation practices needed to address a specific natural resource need. Typically, these plans are specific to certain kinds of land use such as transitioning to organic operations, grazing land, forest land or can also address a specific resource need such as a plan for management of nutrients or to address an air-quality concern. With a CAP plan, producers can then apply for financial assistance to implement the needed conservation practices.
The NRCS continually strives to put conservation planning at the forefront of its programs and initiatives.
Conservation plans provide landowners with a comprehensive inventory and assessment of their resources and an appropriate start to improving the quality of soil, water, air, plants and wildlife on their land.
EQIP is an incentives program that provides financial assistance for conservation systems such as animal waste management facilities, irrigation system efficiency improvements, fencing and water supply development for improved grazing management, riparian protection and wildlife habitat enhancement.
WHIP is a voluntary program for people who want to establish and improve wildlife habitat primarily on private lands.
Applications can be taken at all Colorado NRCS offices and USDA Service Centers. The Rio Blanco County Service Center is located at 351 7th St., Meeker, Colo., or by calling 970-878-5628, Ext. 3.