NRCS announces deadline for the West Virginia Restoration Project
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Collaboration with the Forest Service, local agencies targets strengthening ecosystem improvements
MORGANTOWN, W. Va., April 4, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announces the application packet deadline for the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) as part of the WV Restoration Venture. Producers interested in participating in the program may submit applications to NRCS through May 16, 2014.
In February, the West Virginia Restoration Venture was announced by Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert Bonnie. The project is a multi-year partnership under the between NRCS and the U.S. Forest Service to improve the health and resiliency of forest ecosystems where public and private lands meet across the nation.
“The WV Restoration Venture is part of the Joint Landscape Restoration Partnership between NRCS and the Forest Service,” NRCS State Conservationist Kevin Wickey said. “West Virginia is fortunate to be one of 12 states to receive a portion of the $30 million with additional funding available in future years. Combining talents, research data, expert technical support and financial assistance will allow all agencies involved to better support producers statewide.”
Joining NRCS and the Monongahela National Forest is Trout Unlimited (TU), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Canaan Valley Institute (CVI), West Virginia Division of Forestry, and the U.S. Forest Service-State and Private Forestry. All agencies are committed to restoring the health of West Virginia forests, streams, and grasslands. The partnership aims to accelerate ecosystem improvement through strengthened interagency planning and project implementation.
Partners will coordinate restoration activities to improve habitat connectivity, ecosystem restoration, improved soil health, climate change adaptation, carbon sequestration, improve water quality, increased threatened and endangered and at-risk species habitat, wetland restoration, aquatic habitat and watershed restoration, improved soil data and interpretations, ecological site descriptions, reduced sedimentation, and restoration of historic fire regimes through the use of prescribed fire. The outcomes anticipated through this public/private partnership will provide a continuing and improving domestic water supply and improved outdoor recreation experiences through ecosystem restoration and increased diversity of flora and fauna.
Local NRCS offices accept and evaluate EQIP applications year round. Application evaluations only take place during announced ranking periods. For consideration in the 2014 federal fiscal year eligible landowners must enroll by submitting their application no later than May 16, 2014. The most popular conservation enhancements used by West Virginia farmers and ranchers under EQIP include fencing, water delivery systems, pipelines and installing troughs.
Thus far in 2014, NRCS has approved 265 applications for contracting totaling more than $6.8 million. For more information, go to http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/wv/home/.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service helps America’s farmers, ranchers and forestland owners conserve the Nation’s soil, water, air and other natural resources. All programs are voluntary and offer science-based solutions which benefit both the landowner and the environment. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call 1-866-632-9992 (Toll-Free Customer Service), 1-800-877-8339 (Local or Federal Relay) or 1-866-377-8642 (Relay Voice Users).