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Resource Conservation Financial Assistance and Easement Programs

Resource Conservation Financial Assistance and Easement Programs

Providing conservation solutions to protect your way of life.
USDA NRCS is an equal opportunity employer and provider.
USDA NRCS - www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov

To locate the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) office that services your location, visit the following website: http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=CA.

Program Contact Information

For information about programs offered in California visit: www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/.

Our Mission

Guided by the mission of helping people help the land, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) collaborates with farmers, ranchers, communities and other individuals and groups to protect natural resources on private lands. Working side by side with our partners and customers, we identify natural resource concerns, such as water quality and quantity issues, soil erosion, air quality, wetlands and wildlife habitat, and develop unique solutions for restoring and protecting these resources.

Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA)

NRCS delivers technical assistance through its voluntary Conservation Technical Assistance Program (CTA). Through CTA, NRCS employees provide conservation options and recommendations, as well as planning and engineering assistance to farmers, ranchers, local governments and urban landowners. Although CTA does not include financial or cost-share assistance, landowners may develop plans that can, in turn, serve as a springboard for future participation in conservation programs.


Wetland Reserve Program (WRP)

Program Description

The Wetlands Reserve Program is a voluntary program offering landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands on their property. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides technical and financial support to help landowners with their wetland restoration efforts. The NRCS goal is to achieve the greatest wetland functions and values, along with optimum wildlife habitat, on every acre enrolled in the program. Landowners have the option of enrolling eligible lands through permanent easements, 30-year easements, or restoration cost-share agreements.

General Program Requirements

In order to qualify for this program, you must own or control land that may be restorable and suitable for wildlife.

Application Process

Application forms for this program can be downloaded at this website: www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/wrp/index.html.

For more information, visit: www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/.


Grassland Reserve Program (GRP)

Program Description

The Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) is a voluntary conservation program that emphasizes support for working grazing operations, enhancement of plant and animal biodiversity, and protection of grassland under threat of conversion to other uses.

General Program Requirements

Participants voluntarily limit future development and cropping uses of the land while retaining the right to conduct common grazing practices and operations related to the production of forage and seeding, subject to certain restrictions during nesting seasons of bird species that are in significant decline or are protected under Federal or State law. A grazing management plan is required for participants.

Application Process

Application forms for this program can be downloaded at this website: www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/grp/index.html.

Program Contact Information

For more information, please visit: www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/.


Conservation Security Program (CSP)

Program Description

CSP encourages producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities; and undertaking additional conservation activities.

General Program Requirements

In order to qualify for this benefit program, you must own or control land that may be restorable.

Application Process

The Conservation Stewardship Program is offered as a continuous signup, and applications are accepted year-round with periodic ranking cutoff dates announced during the year.

Application forms for this program can be downloaded at this website: www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/new_csp/index.html.

Program Contact Information

For more information, please visit: www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/.


Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP)

Program Description

The purpose of the Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP) is to assist landowners, on a voluntary basis, in restoring, enhancing and protecting forestland resources on private lands through easements. In California, 10-year cost-share restoration agreements are offered.

General Program Requirements

To be eligible for enrollment, land must be private land or Tribal land that will restore, enhance or measurably increase the likelihood of recovery of a threatened or endangered species and must improve biological diversity or increase carbon sequestration.

Application Process

Application forms for this program can be downloaded at this website: www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/hfrp/index.html.

Program Contact Information

For more information, please visit: www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/.


Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

Program Description

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides technical and financial assistance to eligible farmers and ranchers to address soil, water, and related natural resource concerns on their lands in an environmentally beneficial and cost effective manner.

EQIP provides payments up to 50 % of the incurred costs of certain conservation practices and activities. However, certain historically underserved producers (limited resource farmers/ranchers, beginning farmers/ranchers, socially disadvantaged producers) may be eligible for payments up to 90 %of the estimated incurred costs.

General Program Requirements

In order to qualify for this benefit program, you must be a land owner or operator in need of assistance in complying with environmental laws or in need of assistance or guidance regarding farmland or property facing environmental threats.

Application Process

Applications for the EQIP program are accepted on a continuous basis; however, the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) establishes application "cut-off" dates for evaluation and ranking of eligible applications.

Application forms for this program can be downloaded at this website: www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip/2012/index.html.

Program Contact Information

For more information, please visit: www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/.


Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP)

Program Description

The purpose of the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) is to assist farmers and ranchers in keeping their land in agricultural production. The program provides matching funds to State, Tribal, or local governments and nongovernmental organizations with existing farmland protection programs to purchase conservation easements or other interests in land to voluntarily protect agricultural land by prohibiting conversion to non-agricultural uses.

General Program Requirements

Privately-owned land must have a pending offer by a government entity or non-governmental organization (NGO), to purchase a conservation easement, at least one-half of the appraised fair market value of the easement must be cost-shared by the government entity, NGO or landowner, there must be an appraisal of the property completed by a general land appraiser certified in the State of California, the landowner must agree to have a conservation plan developed for all highly erodible land owned by the landowner, and the landowner must agree not to subdivide the easement parcel.

Application Process

Application forms for this program can be downloaded at this website: www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/frpp/index.html.

Program Contact Information

For more information, please visit: www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/.


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Resource Conservation Financial Assistance and Easement Programs - CA NRCS - English/Español July/Julio 2012 (PDF; 748KB)