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News Release

NM Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)

NRCS Contact:
Alicia Rodriguez (505) 761-4421

November 15, 2017

Fiscal Year 2018 Projects Deadline Announced

Albuquerque, N.M. –Assistant State Conservationist Kris Graham Chavez of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in New Mexico has announced the deadline of December 15, 2017, for three Regional Conservation Partnership Program’s (RCPP).  The Regional Conservation Partnership Program brings together a wide array of local and national partners, including Indian tribes, nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, private industry, conservation districts, water districts, universities and many others. So far, more than 2,000 partners are engaged in locally-led conservation efforts through RCPP.

The Canadian River Watershed Restoration Project will encourage ranchers and landowners operating within the Prairie Grasslands Region of New Mexico to utilize the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Each participating rancher, in collaboration with federal and state land managing agencies, will develop a resource management plan. The leveraged EQIP funds will encourage restoration efforts outlined in the plan, like treating invasive plant species. Partners within the CRWRP have been addressing resource concerns on ranches with mixed ownership lands for 11 years. This project was initiated when eight Soil and Water Conservation Districts encompassing the entire Canadian River Watershed began collaboration through a Joint Powers Agreement to restore the watershed of the Canadian River and its tributaries.

The New Mexico Range and Forest Soil Health Initiative will bring Environmental Quality Incentives Program and partner funds together for New Mexico ranchers whose operations include federal lands. Each rancher, state and federal agency with lands included in the ranch operation will develop a coordinator resource management plan or CRMP.  The CRMP will include range and forest soil health restoration strategies, such as forest thinning, to combat the increase in wildland fires. New Mexico experienced over 1.5 million acres in wildfires from 2009 to 2014. Restoration efforts through this initiative are critical to fund treatments on over 20 million acres of brush-invaded rangeland and 10 million acres of overstocked forest lands.

The North Central NM Watershed Restoration Project aimed at reducing wildfire risk while at the same time improving soils, hydrology, vegetation, and enhancing social/economic needs. The watershed approach provides a framework for coordinating project needs among private landowners, state and Federal agencies, tribes, communities, and other interested stakeholders. The project extends from Taos (North) to Bernardo (South) and Gallup (West) to Santa Rosa (East), including all major tributaries and sub-watersheds of the Rio Grande and Pecos River in that region. This project will expand on previous work with established partners to improve the natural resources of this critically important region. Forest restoration practices have been shown to reduce high-severity wildfire and to improve watershed health, water quality, and water quantity. Poor historic management of forest watersheds and riparian zones along with current and forecast climate change are creating a dire situation for the condition and availability of New Mexico’s forest, rangeland and water resources. This situation must be alleviated with natural resource restoration efforts. Montane coniferous forest watersheds and riparian areas that experience extensive mid- and high-severity wildfires have greatly diminished water storage capacity because the soils do not absorb or hold water after fire. Rainwater runoff generated during storms has the potential to cause extreme flooding, sedimentation, and debris flows into the main tributaries of the burned watersheds. The large amounts of post-fire sediment that move into rivers, streams and reservoirs during these flood events diminish water quality and disrupt water delivery and storage. Wildlife, acequias, rural economies, tourism and outdoor recreation are all at risk from the associated impacts of watershed wildfires. Without a large-scale watershed solution addressing wildfire, more acres will continue to be severely impacted, which will place critical water and other natural resources in jeopardy, and threaten more communities within the Wildland Urban Environment (WUI).

Producers can apply by visiting their local USDA Service Center  and submitting their Conservation Program Application (NRCS-CPA-1200).  Producers who have established a Client Gateway account may submit their application online.

Producers need to receive a farm and tract number from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) by the application deadline. 

“We want New Mexico farmers and ranchers to know that we are ready to assist producers get conservation on the ground and hope they will take this time to stop by their local NRCS office to discuss their current conservation needs.  If one of these initiatives does not fit the needs of the customer, the field office staff will be happy to discuss a conservation plan and financial assistance that will be available in Fiscal Year 2018 that would fit their operation,” said Graham Chavez. 

 EQIP provides a targeted, science-based approach to restoring and protecting habitat while strengthening rural economies and cultivating collaboration among conservation partners. EQIP provides a flat rate payment to producers to install conservation practices, such as Range Planting, Windbreaks, Residue Management No-Till, Riparian Forest Buffers, Watering Facilities, Fence, Tree Planting, and Wildlife Habitat Management.

NRCS provides leadership in a partnership effort to help people conserve, maintain and improve our natural resources and environment. You can find more Programs at NRCS Programs. For more information about NRCS New Mexico visit NRCS New Mexico.

Photo of RCPP Project that was done here in New Mexico









RCPP Project done in New Mexico.
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