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CRP-SAFE Initiative

CRP - State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement

Last Modified: 08/08/2012

CP38E - Habitat Restoration for Northern Bobwhite and Cassin’s Sparrow Populations in the Mixed-Grass Prairie Region of Oklahoma

Conservation Practice 38E-Habitat Restoration for Northern Bobwhite and Cassin’s Sparrow Populations in the Mixed-Grass Prairie Region of Oklahoma, is a new CRP continuous signup practice offered by the USDA Farm Service Agency. The purpose of this practice is to restore mixed-grass prairie type association in Northwestern Oklahoma. Practice CP38E is part of a national initiative called State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) that targets restoration of vital wildlife habitat. Counties that have land within the CRP-SAFE project area include Texas, Beaver, Harper, Woods, Ellis, Woodward, Roger Mills, Dewey, Custer, and Beckham.

Key Provisions

Oklahoma has been approved to enroll 15,100 acres in the SAFE program. Through this practice, participants will improve habitat stability for a number of grassland obligate species. This practice will also indirectly improve water and air quality, reduce soil erosion and provide hunting and nature viewing opportunities.

Eligibility

The project boundaries (SAFE area) will include parts of specific hydrological units in Texas, Beaver, Harper, Woods, Ellis, Woodward, Roger Mills, Dewey, Custer, and Beckham Counties. For land to be eligible, it must:

  • Be located within the SAFE area.
  • Have been planted or considered planted by FSA for at least four out of the six years from 1996 to 2001.
  • Physically planted to an annual crop the previous year (land already in perennial cover is not eligible)
  • Physically planted to an annual crop the previous year (land already in perennial cover is not eligible)

Landowners or operators, who wish to participate in CP38E, must be willing to enter into a 15-year Conservation Reserve Program Contract with the Farm Service Agency, and to plant the offered acreage to native grasses based on the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Restoration and Management of Declining Habitats Standards and Specifications. The plant species and rates will be determined using current market availabilities and ecological site descriptions for the offered acreage. Additional requirements will include:

  • Forbs and/or legume seeding rates will be calculated using the maximum percent.
  • At least 1% of the acreage will be planted to sand plum on appropriate ecological sites.
  • Sand plum plantings will be done on 3’-5’ spacings with a minimum patch size of 15’ x 15’ (16 plums min.) and a maximum size of 40’ x 40’. Patches will be separated by at least 100’.

Required Management Activities

The required management activity of burning or mowing shall be completed twice during the life of the contract to maintain the desired plant community. The selected management practice will be completed between contract years 5-8, and once again between contract years 10-13. The dates for completion of the required management activities are from February 1st through March 15th of the scheduled year.

Prescribed burns will only be used after sufficient plant growth has occurred, and a fire is warranted to maintain the desired plant community.

Prescribed mowing heights will not be less than six inches, and no more than half of the field can be mowed during an application period.

Strip disking maybe used to increase stand diversity and bare ground. Strip disking will be completed between December 1st- March 1st. Disked strips will be narrow and follow the contour of the land. The disked strips will be separated by at least 100’. The strip disking shall not exceed 10% of the enrolled field acres.

Producer Incentives

CP38E offers many incentives to establish native mixed-grass prairie. Landowners and/or operators will be eligible to receive the following benefits:

  • $100/acre Signing Incentive Payment (SIP) will be paid when the contract is approved.
  • Up to 50% cost share for establishment of the permanent vegetative cover which includes native grass, forbs, legumes, and shrubs.
  • A one-time Practice Incentive Payment (PIP) representing 40% of the total eligible cost of installing the permanent vegetative cover.
  • $2/acre CRP maintenance payment to annually maintain the permanent vegetative cover.
  • An annual CRP rental payment based on the soil rental rates for the three predominate soils of the offered acreage.
  • Up to 50% cost-share payment to completed required management activities.

How to Apply

Sign-up is continuous for producers within the identified SAFE project area.  Landowners or operators may visit or call their local FSA office in order to determine if their land qualifies for this CRP practice.

For further information and assistance, contact your local FSA office or NRCS Field Service Center.