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Western Kenai Peninsula soils of local importance

Palmer, Dec. 1 –USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Homer Soil and Water Conservation District announce the designation of Soils of Local Importance in the western region of the Kenai Peninsula. These designations are one step towards further conservation of agricultural lands.

NRCS Realty and Easement Specialist Karen Dearlove gave her congratulations to the Board of Supervisors in Homer, as well as the Board of Supervisors in Kenai, “both of which have now enabled the additional conservation of the Kenai Peninsula’s most important farm and ranch lands.” In addition to the production of crops and livestock, farm and ranch lands provide open space, food and cover for wildlife, help control flooding, protect wetlands, and maintain watershed functions.

These designations of important soils provide for agricultural lands to meet one layer of threshold eligibility for consideration in the NRCS Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, as well as afford a basic level of protection under the Farmland Protection Policy Act.

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program provides financial assistance to eligible land trusts and related entities for the purchase of agricultural land easements that protect the agricultural uses and conservation values of eligible farm and ranch lands. Land eligible for agricultural land easements includes cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland, and non-industrial private forest land.

The Farmland Protection Policy Act addresses the impact of Federally funded programs on the conversion of important agricultural soils to nonagricultural uses, as in the development or expansion of highways, airports, utilities, and housing developments. 

Soil and Water Conservation Districts - such as Homer and Kenai SWCDs - are established under state law to promote the wise use and management of natural resources within their districts, and are authorized under federal law to make designations of soils of local importance to further the conservation of the most important agricultural lands.

NRCS employees provide technical assistance based on both sound science and the specific needs of agricultural customers. NRCS provides financial assistance for agricultural conservation activities to protect soil, water and related natural resources. Participation in programs is voluntary and non-regulatory.

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