Skip Navigation

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

General EQIP Information

EQIP Financial Assistance

Despite the uncertainties with the new Farm Bill, NRCS continues to accept applications for an early signup and obligation period.

  • NRCS accepts EQIP applications year-round.
  • For those who have not yet applied, NRCS recommends you submit an application within the next few weeks to ensure funding consideration this quarter.
  • For producers who submitted applications in the previous fiscal year, NRCS will be sending deferral letters in mid-October with directions to notify NRCS on whether to proceed with, modify, or cancel their application.
  • An EQIP application should be supported by a conservation plan, co-developed by the landowner and the NRCS conservationist, spelling out the actions that will be undertaken to improve the natural resource condition being addressed and the timeline for doing so.
  • The time needed to complete a conservation plan and process eligibility can vary, from a few weeks to more than a month.

Fiscal Year 2019 Deadlines and Funding Pools

  • NRCS will screen and rank eligible applications for funding consideration by the batching schedule listed below.

National Air Quality Initiative l California Air Quality Initiative l National On-Farm Energy Initiative l National Organic Initiative l National Water Quality Initiative l Catastrophic Fire Recovery Initiative l Forest Tree Mortality Initiative l Conservation Activity Plan Initiative l High Tunnel System Initiative l Joint Chiefs' Forestry Restoration Partnership Initiative l WaterSMART Initiative l WLFW - Southwestern Willow Flycatcher Initiative l WLFW - Greater Sage Grouse Initiative l Declining Species Habitat Initiative l Wildlife-Friendly Livestock Ponds Initiative l Historically Underserved Initiative l Tribal Initiative l Regional, Locally-led Initiatives

FY 2019 Funding Pools

Batching Schedule

Nov. 16, 2018

Dec. 7, 2018

National Air Quality Initiative

The National Air Quality Initiative funding pool is designed to help agricultural producers meet air quality compliance requirements and offer funding opportunities to support practices related to on-farm mobile engines that reduce oxides of nitrogen (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOC), and particulate matter (PM) emissions from agricultural sources helps achieve and maintain the health- and welfare-based National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in California.

X

X

National On-Farm Energy Initiative

The purpose of the National On-Farm Energy Initiative funding pool is to specifically address energy conservation through development of an agricultural energy management plan (AgEMP) and practice implementation.

X

X

National Water Quality Initiative

The National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) was established as a joint initiative with the NRCS and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address agricultural sources of water pollution, including nutrients, sediment, pesticides, and pathogens related to agricultural production and in priority watersheds. Two watersheds in California have been identified for NWQI funding, Salt River and Calleguas Creek.

Salt River is a tributary of the Lower Eel River and includes 44 square miles in Humboldt County and includes Williams Creek, Francis Creek, Russ Creek, and smaller tributaries. These tributaries form the Salt River which empties into the Eel River estuary four miles north of the City of Ferndale.

Calleguas Creek drains an area of approximately 343 square miles in the eastern portion of Ventura County.  The Arroyos Simi, Las Posas Arroyo, Conejo Creek and the Revlon Slough are tributaries of the Calleguas Creek and empty into the Mugu Lagoon which is a system of salt-water marshes, tidal pools and duck ponds, with a bay adjoining the Pacific Ocean.

X

X

Catastrophic Fire Recovery Initiative

Catastrophic Fire Recovery funnding pool can provide immediate resource protection in areas burned by catastrophic fires on non-industrial private forestland (NIPF), grazing lands and croplands.

X

X

Forest Tree Mortality Initiative

Forest Tree Mortality funding pool can provide immediate resource protection in drought-affected forestlands where elevated levels of forest insect tree mortality have occurred or where forest insects are an imminent threat to forestlands. Prioritized treatment areas include non-industrial private forestlands in Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Fresno, Kern, Lake, Los Angeles, Mariposa, Madera, Nevada, Placer, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Tulare, or Tuolumne counties.

X

X

Conservation Activity Plan Initiative

A Conservation Activity Plan or CAP can be developed for producers to identify conservation practices needed to address a specific natural resource need.

With a CAP plan, producers can then apply for financial assistance to implement the needed conservation practices.

X

X

High Tunnel System Initiative

Through the High Tunnel System Initiative funiding pool NRCS can assist producers to extend the growing season for high value crops in an environmentally safe manner.

The initiative has the potential to assist producers in addressing a resource concern by extending the growing season, improving soil quality, and reducing nutrient and pesticide transport.

X

X

Joint Chiefs’ Forestry Restoration Partnership Initiative

The United States Forest Service (USFS) and the NRCS have entered into a multi-year partnership to improve the health and resiliency of forest ecosystems where public and private lands.

Joint Chiefs’ Forestry Partnership for Central Sierra funding pool promotes community wildfire protection, restoration of ecological processes and initiation of a landscape level response to the ongoing tree mortality epidemic. This project will protect remaining habitat from fire and promote habitat restoration for the future. Treatments will provide enhanced protection to the communities within and adjacent to the boundaries of Sierra National Forest NEPA ready projects that have been severely impacted by tree mortality.

Joint Chiefs’ Forestry Partnership for the South Fork Trinity River and Upper Mad River funding pool promotes community wildfire protection and can assist in the restoration of ecological process on non-industrial private forestland within the focus area of the Trinity Community Protection and Landscape Restoration Project. Spanning both the Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests, the largely publicly owned watersheds are interspersed with private timberland, ranches, and six isolated rural communities.

X

X

WaterSMART Initiative

Managing water resources in the American West can be challenging. Drought, aging infrastructure, and environmental requirements can strain existing resources. Through WaterSMART, the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and NRCS target funding to high priority water delivery agencies and on-farm irrigation improvements to better manage limited water resources under varying conditions.

Through the WaterSMART Initiative funding pool NRCS can provide technical and financial assistance to eligible producers to install water use efficiency conservation practices on irrigated lands serviced by a water delivery agency where BOR WaterSMART funding was utilized to modernize existing infrastructure.

X

X

Working Lands for Wildlife Landscape Initiative

The Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) Initiative is an effort between the NRCS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) that leverages capabilities and resources, targets assistance where it is most needed, cooperatively engages state and local partners, and works collaboratively with agricultural producers, forest land managers, and Tribes. NRCS and FWS have selected two at-risk species in California whose decline can be reversed given sufficient resources and landowner participation.

WLFW for the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher funding pool can provide accelerated financial and technical assistance to producers to restore degraded riparian ecosystems and conserve existing healthy riparian systems to enhance populations of and habitat for the Southwestern willow flycatcher on working agricultural lands. WLFW to enhance habitat for the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher is offered in six states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.

WLFW for the Greater Sage Grouse funding pool can provide accelerated financial and technical assistance to producers to enhance populations of and habitat for Sage grouse on working agricultural lands. WLFW to enhance habitat for the Sage grouse is offered in ten other states: Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

X

X

Declining Species Wildlife Habitat Initiative

Declining Species Wildlife Habitat Initiative funding pool can provide financial and technical assistance to agricultural operators who want to create, improve or enhance fish or wildlife habitat for declining species on farms, ranches and non-industrial forestlands. This initiative can provide financial and technical assistance to producers to voluntarily meet agency requirements for implementation of approved conservation practices that provide significant resource benefit to create, improve or enhance fish or wildlife habitat for declining species.

 

X

Wildlife-Friendly Livestock Pond Initiative

Wildlife-Friendly Livestock Initiative funding pool can target financial assistance funds for the implementation of conservation practices on eligible agricultural operations to support aquatic, riparian, and upland habitats for California Red-legged frog (Rana draytonii) and California Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense).

 

X

California Air Quality Initiative

The California Air Quality Initiative funding pools are designed to help agricultural producers meet air quality compliance requirements and offer funding opportunities to support practices that reduce oxides of nitrogen (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOC), and particulate matter (PM) emissions from agricultural sources helps achieve and maintain the health- and welfare-based National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in California.

 

X

National Organic Initiative

Authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, EQIP includes provisions to provide opportunities for organic producers to address natural resource concerns related to organic production as well as requirements related to the National Organic Program (NOP) requirements.

Financial assistance is limited to $20,000 per year and $80,000 during a six-year period. Assistance for conservation practices and planning related to addressing resource concerns as part of organic production.

Organic Transition funding pool can assist producers plan and implement conservation practices to allow their transitioning to organic operations be environmentally sustainable. Transitioning to Organic must self-certify that they agree to develop and implement an Organic System Plan (OSP) before an EQIP contract may be approved.

Certified Organic funding pool can assist organic producers plan and implement conservation practices to allow their organic operations to be environmentally sustainable - these practices must be consistent with an Organic System Plan. Certified organic producers must provide NRCS with a copy of their USDA NOP organic certificate or proof of good standing from a USDA-accredited certifying agent; certification must be maintained for the life of the contract. Organic producers who are selling less than $5,000 a year in organic agricultural products are exempt from NOP’s certification. Exempt organic producers must self-certify that they agree to develop and implement an OSP.

 

X

Historically Underserved Initiative

The farm bill continues to address the unique circumstances and concerns of historically underserved farmers to provide for voluntary participation, offers incentives and focuses on equity in accessing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and services.

Beginning Farmers/Ranchers (SFR) funding pool can provide financial and technical assistance opportunities for historically underserved farmers and ranchers to improve irrigation system efficiencies and manage those systems to reduce the potential for nutrients, pesticides and sediments to contaminate surface waters or for nutrients and pesticides to degrade ground water.

Socially Disadvantaged Farmers/Ranchers (SFR) funding pool can provide financial and technical assistance opportunities for historically underserved farmers and ranchers to improve irrigation system efficiencies and manage those systems to reduce the potential for nutrients, pesticides and sediments to contaminate surface waters or for nutrients and pesticides to degrade ground water.

 

X

Tribal Initiative

Tribes often have different conservation priorities than other producers and tribal culturally based priorities such as the management of traditional Native American food and fiber plants are not priorities for mainstream producers. There are 109 Federally Recognized American Indian Tribes in California; and, at least 69 Non-Federally Recognized Tribes in California petitioning for federal recognition (BIA).

Tribal Traditional Plant Restoration funding pool can provide technical and assistance to federally and non-federally recognized Native American Tribes and tribal producers for conservation treatments such  as: prune species of shrubs and perennial forbs for herbal medicine, basketry material, and material for dye vats; for fuel reduction strategy to accommodate the fire protection of large gray pines, blue oaks and valley oaks that provide many nuts, in turn, benefiting the food gathering and maintaining an open savanna.

Tribal Diversified Farms funding pool can provide technical and financial assistance opportunities to federally and non-federally recognized Native American Tribes and tribal producers to fund the implementation of conservation practices on eligible tribal crop, pasture and rangeland agricultural operations to address soil, water, plants, wildlife habitat, energy and grazing management.

Tribal Forestland funding pool can provide technical and financial assistance opportunities to federally and non-federally recognized Native American Indian Tribes to promote healthy and productive forestlands, reduce soil erosion, enhance fish and wildlife habitat, improve water quality, and reduce wildfire risks.

Tribal Rangeland funding pool can provide technical and financial assistance opportunities to federally and non-federally recognized Native American Indian Tribes to promote rangeland health and ecological function while enhancing wildlife habitat values.

 

X

Regional, Locally-led Initiatives

Locally-led conservation is based on the principle that community stakeholders are best suited to identify and resolve local natural resource problems. Through the locally-led process, Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) and the NRCS  work together to prioritize conservation needs at the local level. The word “local” can mean a county, a portion of a county, a watershed, a multicounty region, or whatever geographic area is best suited to address the resource conservation needs identified.

California’s regional, locally-led initiatives are multi-county ranking and funding pools based on similar geographic, landscape climate, operation-type and resource conservation needs.

 

X

Contacts

Alan Forkey, Program Manager
Phone: 530-792-5653
Email: Alan.Forkey@ca.usda.gov

Erik Beardsley, Program Specialist
Phone: 530-792-5649
Email: Erik.Beardsley@ca.usda.gov