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News - Funding Available for USDA Sage-Grouse Conservation Initiative

Natural Resources Conservation Service - News Release

Funding Available for USDA Sage-Grouse Conservation Initiative

Contact:
Anita Brown (530) 792-5644
Alan Forkey (530) 792-5653

DAVIS, Calif., February 19, 2013—USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is currently accepting applications in four eastern California counties for funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for the Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI). Applications must be submitted by March 15, 2013.

"In California, this initiative is focused on areas of high sage-grouse populations in Inyo, Lassen, Modoc and Mono counties," says NRCS State Biologist Tom Moore. "The intention is to maintain large intact areas of habitat and maximize the biological returns on conservation investments."

Since 2010 NRCS has provided financial and technical assistance through SGI to farmers and ranchers in 11 western states who are proactively working to conserve the sage-grouse and help keep it from being listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Through this initiative, NRCS is making $2 million in EQIP funding available in fiscal year 2013 to help California farmers and ranchers implement habitat improvements on their lands. Producers will be eligible to receive payments for 75 percent of estimated costs for practices that will improve greater sage-grouse habitat, such as grazing management, removing encroached juniper trees, planting native species, removing or retrofitting fences to make them more visible and wildlife-friendly, and installing wildlife escape ramps in existing watering facilities.

Interested applicants should submit a complete application to the local NRCS office by close-of-business on March 15, 2013. Applications will continue to be accepted after these deadlines, but ranking and funding decisions will be deferred until the next funding cycle. More information can be found at www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/.

-NRCS-

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