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News Release

Alabama Announces Application Deadline for EQIP WLFW Eastern Hellbender Initiative

Frank Cochran

Application Deadline for the Working Lands for Wildlife Eastern Hellbender Initiative Announced

News Release No.: 000006.22

Printable Version


Auburn, Alabama February 16, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced the deadline to submit applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) Eastern Hellbender Initiative.  Friday, March 25, 2022, will be the first application sign-up batching date. Alabama is joining the WLFW Eastern Hellbender state level partnership along with Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina. The initiative in Alabama will include practices to improve water quality within streams known to harbor Eastern Hellbenders. The Eastern Hellbender Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) is the largest salamander in the United States with some reaching a weight of 2 pounds and 24 inches in length. Once common in the eastern United States, the species has faced population decline due to inadequate habitat and water quality degradation. Eligible watersheds are located within Lauderdale and Limestone counties.

The targeted watersheds include:

Bluewater Creek – (060300050201 and 060300050202)
Cypress Creek – (06030005064)
Shoal Creek – (060300040401)
Sugar Creek – (060300040303)       

Eligible conservation practices include those that extend or create Streamside Management Zones (SMZs), reduce erosion, and lessen nutrient runoff, such as Forest Riparian Buffers, cover crops, reduced tillage, and livestock exclusion fencing and watering systems.

Producers interested in participating should contact their local NRCS District Conservationist.  NRCS accepts applications for conservation programs year-round, but applications are ranked and funded by enrollment periods that are set locally. Applications signed and submitted to NRCS by the Friday, March 25, 2022, will be evaluated in the first Fiscal Year 2022 batching period for this initiative. If necessary, other application batching periods may be offered.Special emphasis participants like socially disadvantaged, limited resource, new and beginning, and eligible military veteran farmers and ranchers are eligible for a higher financial assistance rate.

In addition, these historically underserved farmers and ranchers are eligible for a 50 percent advanced payment for purchasing materials or contracting to help with practice implementation in EQIP.For more information about Alabama NRCS and Programmatic initiatives, priorities, and assessment/ranking criteria, visit online at Additionally, visit your local USDA Service Center to determine eligibility; applicants are not eligible for USDA programs until they have ensured all Farm Bill eligibility requirements have been met. You can locate your local Service Center at


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