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Landscape Initiatives

NRCS has implemented a broad spectrum of initiatives since January of 2009. These initiatives enable NRCS to more effectively address priority natural resource concerns by delivering systems of practices, primarily to the most vulnerable lands within geographic focus areas.

Through these initiatives, NRCS seeks to accomplish:

Conservation beyond boundaries
Landscape-scale natural resource concerns, such as species conservation and water quality, cannot be treated effectively based on geo-political boundaries. NRCS recognizes that natural resource concerns transcend farm, county, and state boundaries.

A science-based approach
Findings from the multi-agency Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) indicate the most effective way to increase protection of natural resources is to target conservation to the most vulnerable or valuable areas and to apply a systems rather than a practice-by-practice approach. Within individual initiatives, the best available university and government science resources are used to define initiative targeting approaches.

Build on existing locally-led efforts and partnerships
NRCS seeks to maximize the success of initiatives by leveraging partner interest and resources through programmatic and other tools.

Regulatory certainty for agricultural producers
Where applicable, NRCS is working with regulators so agricultural producers can have certainty that the voluntary conservation systems they implement are consistent with current and potential regulation, as well as sustained agricultural production.

Maine NRCS is offering the following initiatives to benefit the landscape:

  • New England Cottontail:  Restoration of a disappearing ecosystem that across the historic region of occurrence is home to at least 122 endangered or threatened plant and animal species.  In Maine, the endangered species being addressed is the New England cottontail, traditionally found in the forests of York and Cumberland Counties.
  • Irrigation Assistance:  Provide crops with water to supplement deficiencies in precipitation.  Maine NRCS has agreed to set aside at least $1 million each year for irrigation assistance across the state to address irrigation efficiency and assist producers to comply with Maine Department of Environmental Protection In-Stream Flows and Lakes and Pond Water Levels regulations.
  • New England/New York Forestry Initiative:  Promote healthy, sustainable forests throughout the New England/New York region through the development of management plans and the implementation of conservation practices.
  • Penobscot River Restoration Focus Area:  Reconnect habitat for native fish species including book trout and the endangered Atlantic salmon by fixing problem culverts in the Penobscot River, with a focus on the Pleasant River sub-watershed.
  • Salmon Falls Watershed Collaborative:  Protect and sustain high quality drinking water in the Salmon Falls River watershed, shared by the states of Maine and New Hampshire and drains into the Great Bay Estuary.