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Salt-affected sites should be disturbed as little as possible

Montana Saline Seep Reclamation RCPP Project

Apply by: December 15, 2023

Montana Saline Seep Reclamation is a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) project that works to address saline seeps by providing reclamation plans for producers.

More than 300,000 acres in Montana are affected by high soil saline levels, negatively impacting soil health, ground and surface water, wildlife, livestock and agriculture production. Saline seeps expanded rapidly in the late 1960s due to large scale crop-fallow farming. The Montana Salinity Control Association (MSCA) provides efficient methods, on a farm-by-farm basis, to reclaim these saline seeps. MSCA completes groundwater investigations to determine the location and size of the recharge area to ensure land-use changes are planned where the highest impact can occur. Shallow groundwater monitoring wells are key to understanding the unique hydrogeology of each site before completing comprehensive saline seep reclamation plans for producers. Once an application is signed with NRCS a saline seep reclamation plan is developed by MSCA for the participant. The applications are then competitively ranked and selected to proceed with development of contract to implement conservation practice to treat the identified recharge area. Perennial vegetation lowers ground water levels, eliminating saline discharge to surface waters and acres of productive cropland.

Map of risk of salinity development across Montana

Lead Partner: Montana Salinity Control Association

Contact: Scott Brown or Tera Ryan at 406-315-1978

Number of Initial Partners: 3

Who Can Participate?

The Montana RCPP Saline Seep Reclamation Project will be offered in the High Priority and the Moderate Priority counties: Big Horn, Blaine, Carbon, Carter, Cascade, Chouteau, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Fergus, Garfield, Glacier, Golden Valley, Hill, Judith Basin, Liberty, McCone, Musselshell, Petroleum, Phillips, Pondera, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Rosebud, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Stillwater, Teton, Toole, Treasure, Valley, Wheatland, Wibaux, Yellowstone.

Eligible Land Uses


Eligible Conservation Practices

  • 512: Forage and Biomass Planting
  • 610: Salinity and Sodic Soil Management
  • 328: Conservation Crop Rotation 
  • 340: Cover Crop

Detailed descriptions of these conservation practices can be found in the Field Office Technical Guide, Section 4 - Practice Standards and Supporting Documents.

When to Apply

Program applications are accepted on a continual basis. However, NRCS establishes application ranking dates for evaluation, ranking and approval of eligible applications. Applications received after the ranking date will be automatically deferred to the next funding period. See Montana Programs and Application Dates.

Local Ranking Questions

  1. Does the recharge planting include multiple species? (Select only one)
    Mix will include at a minimum one legume and one grass?
    Mix will include at a minimum 2 legumes and 2 grasses?
  2. Is the application in addition to an historic group or part of current group project where all applicants are addressing a saline seep that is defined by a ground water investigation?

Additional Montana Information


Ready to get started?

Contact your local service center to start your application.

Find Your Local Service Center

USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit

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.

how to get started

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 number.

If you don’t have a farm 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 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. View Application Ranking Dates by State.

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.