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Southern Border Initiative

Southern Border Initiative Ranking Pool

The California Border Initiative extends 25 miles north of the state border with Mexico and is part of a targeted effort with Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico. In California, this southern border is encompassed by San Diego County and Imperial County only.

Farmers and ranchers in these counties may experience damage to their fields and infrastructure because of the adjacency to the border. NRCS has identified specific conservation practices and resource concerns that address these issues and the resulting impacts to our resources.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary, conservation program administered by NRCS that can provide financial and technical assistance to install conservation practices that address priority natural resource concerns.

  • In consultation with the State Technical Committee and Local Work Groups, the State Conservationist has developed ranking pools and ranking criteria to focus EQIP funding for priority resource concerns and initiatives.
  • NRCS uses the Conservation Assessment Ranking Tool (CART) to assess the site vulnerability, existing conditions, and identify potential resource concerns on a unit of land.  After CART assessment, NRCS uses CART Ranking to evaluate an application in all applicable ranking pools.
  • NRCS California has established a ranking threshold of 20 points for this funding pool. All applications above this threshold will be selected for funding.
  • The State Conservationist establishes batching periods to select the highest ranked applications for funding, contract approval is dependent on program eligibility determinations.

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Interested Applicants

Funding for this program is limited to agricultural operations within San Diego County or Imperial County that are 25 miles or less from the US-Mexico border.  For more information about EQIP, how to apply and program eligibility, interested applicants should contact a NRCS field office in the county which you own land or where you have an agricultural operation.  Visit https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/ to find the NRCS representative in either San Diego County or Imperial County.

Two application deadlines and corresponding obligation timeframes have been established for this initiative.

Application Deadline = April 1, 2022
Obligation Deadline = no later than September 2, 2022

Application Deadline = May 6, 2022
Obligation Deadline = no later than August 5, 2022

Land Uses

The descriptions below are the general NRCS land use definitions for the ranking pool.

Forest: Land on which the primary vegetation is tree cover (climax, natural or introduced plant community) and use is primarily for production of wood products or non-timber forest products.

Range: Land used primarily for the production of grazing animals. Includes native plant communities and those seeded to native or introduced species or naturalized by introduced species that are ecologically managed using range management principles.

Crop: Land used primarily for the production and harvest of annual or perennial field, forage, food, fiber, horticultural, orchard, vineyard, or energy crops.

Pasture: Land composed of introduced or domesticated native forage species that is used primarily for the production of livestock. Pastures receive periodic renovation and cultural treatments, such as tillage, fertilization, mowing, weed control, and may be irrigated. Pastures are not in rotation with crops.

Farmstead: Land used for facilities and supporting infrastructure where farming, forestry, animal husbandry, and ranching activities are often initiated. This may include dwellings, equipment storage, plus farm input and output storage and handling facilities.

  • Land associated with farms and ranches that are not purposefully managed for food, forage, or fiber and are typically associated with nearby production or conservation lands. This could include incidental areas, such as odd areas, ditches and watercourses, riparian areas, field edges, seasonal and permanent wetlands, and other similar areas.

Resource Concerns

The goal of conservation planning is to help each client attain sustainable use and sound management of soil, water, air, plant, animal, and energy resources, based on related human considerations (SWAPAE+H). Below is a list of priority resource concerns for the Border Initiative ranking pool.

SWAPAE+H

Resource Concern Category

Resource Concern

Soil

Concentrated Erosion

Bank erosion from streams, shorelines or water conveyance channels

Classic gully erosion

Ephemeral gully erosion

Soil Quality Limitation

Aggregate instability

Compaction

Concentration of salts or other chemicals

Organic matter depletion

Soil organism habitat loss or degradation

Subsidence

Water

Source Water Depletion

Groundwater depletion

Inefficient irrigation water use

Surface water depletion

Plants

Degraded Plant Condition

Plant productivity and health

Plant structure and composition

Pest Pressure

Plant pest pressure

Fire Management

Wildfire hazard from biomass accumulation

Animals

Livestock Production Limitation

Feed and forage balance

Inadequate livestock shelter

Inadequate livestock water quantity, quality, and distribution

Conservation Practices

NRCS conservation practices eligible for financial assistance through this ranking pool are listed in the below table. For more information about NRCS conservation practices visit the following website link: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/technical/?cid=NRCSDEV11_001020.

Practice Code

Conservation Practice Name

Practice Units

Lifespan (Years)

314

Brush Management

ac

10

327

Conservation Cover

ac

5

340

Cover Crop

ac

1

342

Critical Area Planting

ac

10

382

Fence

ft

20

383

Fuel Break

ac

10

384

Woody Residue Treatment

ac

10

391

Riparian Forest Buffer

ac

15

410

Grade Stabilization Structure

no

15

420

Wildlife Habitat Planting

ac

5

428

Irrigation Ditch Lining

ft

20

430

Irrigation Pipeline

ft

20

441

Irrigation System, Microirrigation1

ac

15

449

Irrigation Water Management

ac

10

472

Access Control

ac

10

484

Mulching

ac

1

500

Obstruction Removal

ac

10

512

Pasture and Hay Planting (forage and biomass planting)

ac

5

516

Livestock Pipeline

ft

20

528

Prescribed Grazing

ac

1

533

Pumping Plant

no

15

550

Range Planting

ac

5

560

Access Road

ft

10

561

Heavy Use Protection

ac

10

575

Trails and Walkways

ft

10

578

Stream Crossing

no

10

580

Streambank and Shoreline Protection

ft

20

587

Structure for Water Control

no

20

606

Subsurface Drain

ft

20

614

Watering Facility

no

20

642

Water Well

no

20

650

Windbreak/Shelterbelt Renovation

ft

10

660

Tree/Shrub Pruning

ft

5

666

Forest Stand Improvement

ac

10

Ranking Criteria

Applicability Questions

 

Answer Choices

Points

All of the assessed PLUs or portions of the assessed PLUs are within 25 miles of the California-Mexico border.

YES

--

NO

--

Category Question

 

Answer Choices

Points

Will the conservation practices be planned to the extent needed to address the resource concerns where existing practices have been damaged.

YES

--

NO

--

Program Questions

 

Answer Choices

Points

In the last two EQIP program years, the client failed to implement contract items as agreed to according to Form, NRCS-CPA-153, Agreement Covering Non-Compliance with Provisions of Contract; OR, in the last two EQIP program years, the client had a NRCS contract terminated.

YES

0

NO

200

Resource Questions

 

Answer Choices

Points

Will conservation treatment planned on assessment PLUs decrease sheet and rill erosion? (cropland)

YES

20

NO

0

Will conservation treatment planned on assessed PLUs repair damage to  irrigation system with appropriate structural practices? (cropland)

YES

30

NO

0

Does the conservation treatment include structural or vegetative practices to stabilize erosion? (rangeland)

YES

20

NO

0

Will the conservation treatment result in implementation of structural, mechanical and/or vegetative practices to repair damage that negatively effects the ability to manage livestock distribution? (rangeland)

YES

20

NO

0

Will conservation treatment planned on assessment PLUs decrease sheet and rill erosion or reduce wind erosion? (pasture)

YES

20

NO

0

Will conservation treatment planned on assessed PLUs repair damage to irrigation system with appropriate structural practices? (pasture)

YES

20

NO

0

Will the conservation treatment result in implementation of structural, mechanical and/or vegetative practices to repair damage that negatively effects the ability to manage livestock distribution? (pasture)

YES

10

NO

0

Will conservation treatment planned on assessment PLUs address excessive forest fuels? (forest)

YES

20

NO

0

Does the conservation treatment include structural or vegetative practices to stabilize erosion? (forest)

YES

20

NO

0

Does the conservation treatment include structural or vegetative practices to stabilize and/or prevent soil erosion? (AAL)

YES

20

NO

0

 

 

Updated: 02/28/2022