Protecting producers and pollinators across six New England states.
The New England Pollinator Partnership (NEPP) is an agreement between the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and participating landowners to help restore populations of the rusty patched bumble bee, monarch butterfly, and nine other bumble bee species found throughout New England.
This partnership aims to increase pollinator habitat, reduce pesticide exposure to pollinators, and provide assurances to participating landowners. Assurances provide a "peace-of-mind" that if the monarch butterfly or other target species are federally listed and harmed while carrying out pollinator conservation activities, the landowner is not liable for incidental "take" under the Endangered Species Act. Endangered Species Act protections are offered for the entire 25-year lifespan of this Agreement (April 30, 2044).
Participating landowners stand to benefit from increased abundance and diversity of crop pollinators and natural enemies (insects that help control crop pests).
Although conservation work done under the NEPP will benefit a wide suite of pollinators, the partnership focuses on three imperiled target species:
Rusty Patched Bumble Bee
(Bombus affinis) - Federally Endangered. Hasn't been seen in New England in over a decade.
Yellow Banded Bumble Bee
(Bombus terricola) - Not Warranted for listing. Population crashed from 2010 to 2014.
Recovered to marginal levels in Northern New England.
(Danaus plexippus) - Candidate species under Review by USFWS
Participating landowners must implement at least one of the following Core NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) practices to participate in the New England Pollinator Partnership:
- Brush Management (314)
- Herbicide Weed Treatment (315)
- Conservation Cover (327)
- Field Border (386)
- Riparian Forest Buffer (391)
- Wildlife Habitat Planting (420)
- Hedgerow Planting (422)
- Pest Management Conservation System (595)
- Tree/Shrub Establishment (612)
- Upland Wildlife Habitat Management (645)
- Early Successional Habitat Development/Management (647)
- Wetland Restoration (657)
How to participate
Any landowner eligible for financial or technical assistance from NRCS in New England can participate. Participants must:
- Work with NRCS to develop a conservation plan.
- Implement at least one core conservation practice (shown above).
- Adhere to NEPP Best Management Practices, like maintaining a no-spray pesticide buffer around established pollinator habitat.
What do landowners get?
Participating landowners receive regulatory assurances. In other words, if a rusty patched bumble bee is injured or killed, or its habitat degraded significantly, and the injury, death, or degraded habitat is the result of activities carried out in accordance with BMPs and NRCS conservation practice standards, the landowner is protected from liability for that “take." Further, if any pollinator species covered by this agreement are listed in the future as Federally threatened or endangered, participating landowners will receive the same liability protection for the newly listed species.
Participating landowners may also see an increase in the number of native pollinators that pollinate crops.
Examples of Conservation Practices
Wildlife Habitat Planting (420)
The creation of a perennial wildflower meadow provides pollen and nectar resources for pollinators. These additional forage resources may increase the abundance and richness of pollinators near adjacent crop fields.
Early Successional Habitat Development/Management (627)
This practice is used to create or maintain early successional habitat. Implementation of the practice results in an increase in plant community diversity and provides habitat for early successional plants that are good forage resources for pollinators. To accomplish this practice, mechanical, chemical, or a combination of these treatments is used.
Pest Management Conservation System (595)
Growers adjust pesticide use on crop fields. This may involve halting bloom time spraying, following pest monitoring/action-based thresholds, and using low-toxic insecticides. The practice is used to avoid and/or minimize the harmful risks that pesticide pose to pollinators.
To become a participating producer, contact your local NRCS Field Office.
For general information, or to learn how to support this partnership in other ways, contact NRCS-Maine State Biologist Jeremy Markuson at email@example.com.
Ready to get started?
Contact your local service center to start your application.
How to Get Assistance
Do you farm or ranch and want to make improvements to the land that you own or lease?
Natural Resources Conservation Service offers technical and financial assistance to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.
To get started with NRCS, we recommend you stop by your local NRCS field office. We’ll discuss your vision for your land.
NRCS provides landowners with free technical assistance, or advice, for their land. Common technical assistance includes: resource assessment, practice design and resource monitoring. Your conservation planner will help you determine if financial assistance is right for you.
We’ll walk you through the application process. To get started on applying for financial assistance, we’ll work with you:
- To fill out an AD 1026, which ensures a conservation plan is in place before lands with highly erodible soils are farmed. It also ensures that identified wetland areas are protected.
- To meet other eligibility certifications.
Once complete, we’ll work with you on the application, or CPA 1200.
Applications for most programs are accepted on a continuous basis, but they’re considered for funding in different ranking periods. Be sure to ask your local NRCS district conservationist about the deadline for the ranking period to ensure you turn in your application in time.
As part of the application process, we’ll check to see if you are eligible. To do this, you’ll need to bring:
- An official tax ID (Social Security number or an employer ID)
- A property deed or lease agreement to show you have control of the property; and
- A farm tract number.
If you don’t have a farm tract number, you can get one from USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Typically, the local FSA office is located in the same building as the local NRCS office. You only need a farm tract number if you’re interested in financial assistance.
NRCS will take a look at the applications and rank them according to local resource concerns, the amount of conservation benefits the work will provide and the needs of applicants.
If you’re selected, you can choose whether to sign the contract for the work to be done.
Once you sign the contract, you’ll be provided standards and specifications for completing the practice or practices, and then you will have a specified amount of time to implement. Once the work is implemented and inspected, you’ll be paid the rate of compensation for the work if it meets NRCS standards and specifications.