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Knox County Illinois Soil and Water Conservation District

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Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program

Click Illinois Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program for more information!

CREP is an offspring of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) that was authorized in the 1996 Farm Bill. This program works to enhance the Illinois River Watershed by improving water quality in the river while enhancing wildlife habitat. Landowners who take environmentally sensitive land out of agricultural production in the Illinois River Watershed will receive financial incentives, cost-share incentives and technical assistance for establishing long-term, resource-conserving covers.

Landowners decide if participation in this voluntary federal-state and local conservation program would be beneficial based upon environmental, production and financial factors. CREP is a two-sided program with a 14-15 year Federal contract and a voluntary 15 or 35-year State contract extension or a State permanent conservation easement.

Illinois River Program goals include; 20% reduction in sedimentation, 10% reduction in nutrients, 15% increase in populations of waterfowl, shorebirds, and nongame grassland birds, and a 10% increase in native fish and mussel stocks in the lower reaches. 

CREP is a program that utilizes Federal, State, and local resources to retire frequently flooded and environmentally sensitive cropland to achieve restoration and long-term protection in the Illinois River Basin. The Federal side is a 15-year Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contract, and the State side offers 3 different options: a 15-year or 35-year contract extension, or a permanent conservation easement. Enrollment is voluntary, and both sides of the program offer many different financial incentives.

The local USDA Service Center is the place to inquire about eligibility and all of the financial incentives. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers the Federal side, and the local Soil and Water Conservation Districts administer the State side of CREP with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) administering the fiscal portion. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and IDNR provide technical assistance for the development and implementation of conservation plans.

By applying conservation practices, landowners reduce sedimentation and nutrients going into the Illinois River and its tributaries, while creating and enhancing habitat for fish and wildlife populations. Landowners who have been enrolled for several years are already seeing some benefits, and are proud to have established these benefits for future generations. Illinois' program has made tremendous progress in restoring corridors of critical habitat, and these restored corridors are securing a great amount of protection and benefit to the water quality and beauty of the Illinois River Watershed.

Illinois has one of the most successful CREP programs in the nation, and by voluntarily enrolling in the Federal side and long-term conservation easements on the State side, landowners have shown a strong commitment to preserving and protecting the environment. Since its beginning in May of 1998, CREP has restored or is in the process of restoring over 140,000 acres of floodplain and environmentally sensitive lands, and will provide permanent protection for more than 90,000 acres of key habitat.

CREP presents a great opportunity for Illinois landowners to become part of this success story. For more information, contact the local USDA Service Center, the FSA website at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/il  or the IDNR website at http://build.tripod.lycos.com/trellix/sitebuilder/f_edit_page.html

FSA/IDNR Announce Expansion of Illinois Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program

 

CREP will now include Illinois and Kaskaskia River basins

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Marc Miller today joined United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Scherrie Giamanco to announce an expansion of the successful Illinois Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) to include both the Illinois River and Kaskaskia River basins in Illinois.  CREP is a voluntary, incentive-based federal, state, and local conservation program that works with private landowners to establish conservation practices on erodible lands that help reduce runoff and sedimentation of waterways and enhance fish and wildlife habitat.

 

“Since 1998, the USDA, through the Illinois Farm Service Agency, has partnered with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Illinois Department of Agriculture and many other federal, state, local and non-governmental agencies and groups to promote water quality and wildlife habitat enhancements in the Illinois River Watershed,” said Giamanco. 

 

“Most importantly, we have achieved great success in the Illinois CREP by working at the county level one on one with agricultural producers in this voluntary program. Through their efforts, the public as a whole has seen great benefits,” Giamanco continued. “I am ecstatic to be the SED at a time where we can expand this program to agricultural producers in the Kaskaskia River Watershed.  I look forward to continued success for the Illinois CREP by working in the combined watersheds.” 

 

The Illinois CREP program works with landowners to provide both federal and state incentive payments and technical assistance in retiring flood-prone or environmentally-sensitive land through conservation practices that reduce sediment and nutrient runoff, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat.

 

“The CREP program in Illinois has a proud and successful history and the expansion of the program to the Kaskaskia watershed will pay big dividends for the environment in

 

 

 

 

Illinois.  This expansion would not be possible without the dedication and leadership provided by Governor Pat Quinn, who has worked for years to enhance conservation efforts in our state,” Miller said.

 

Since 1998, landowners in Illinois have voluntarily enrolled 126,500 acres in CREP in the Illinois River basin.  The original goal was to enroll 232,000 acres in the program, and the expansion of the Illinois CREP to the Kaskaskia River basin will allow enrollment of the remaining 105,500 acres in both watersheds.

 

The Kaskaskia River watershed is the second largest river system in Illinois, flowing for 292 miles from east-central Illinois where it flows into the Mississippi River.  Diverse habitats in the Kaskaskia River watershed include the largest contiguous hardwood bottomland forest in the state, two of the most significant grasslands in the state, and habitat that is a key part of the Mississippi River flyway.

 

With the expansion of the program announced today, CREP will now be available to landowners in 68 counties within the two watersheds. The Illinois CREP is administered by the USDA FSA, IDNR, Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) and 66 Soil and Water Conservation Districts.  In addition, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service plays a key technical assistance role and has established a CREP Advisory Committee under the State Technical Committee comprised of government agencies, agricultural, environmental and conservation organizations that provide policy guidance for the program.

 

The counties that are now part of the Illinois CREP are listed below:

 

 

Adams

DeWitt

Iroquois

McDonough

Morgan

Shelby

Bond

Douglas

Jefferson

McHenry

Moultrie

Stark

Brown

DuPage

Jersey

McLean

Peoria

Tazewell

Bureau

Effingham

Kane

Macon

Perry

Vermilion

Calhoun

Fayette

Kankakee

Macoupin

Piatt

Warren

Cass

Ford

Kendall

Madison

Pike

Washington

Champaign

Fulton

Knox

Marion

Putnam

Will

Christian

Greene

Lake

Marshall

Randolph

Woodford

Clinton

Grundy

LaSalle

Mason

St. Clair

 

Coles

Hancock

Lee

Menard

Sangamon

 

Cook

Henderson

Livingston

Monroe

Schuyler

 

DeKalb

Henry

Logan

Montgomery

Scott

 

 


 Conservation practices that are available under CREP include:

         Permanent native grasses

         Tree planting

         Hardwood tree planting

         Permanent wildlife habitat, non-easement

         Filter strips

         Riparian buffer

         Wetland restoration

         Rare and declining habitat

         Wildlife food plots


 

CREP participants receive incentive payments, annual rental payments and cost-share assistance from FSA, and participants who choose one of the State Conservation Easement options receive additional cost-share assistance and a one-time lump sum payment based on soil rental rates and the duration of the easement. 

 

The CREP expansion does not increase the total CREP cost estimated at $700 million, with USDA contributing $580 million and Illinois contributing $120 million.

Sign-up for enrollment under the expanded CREP agreement will begin later this year, and is scheduled to continue until the goal of 232,000 acres is complete.  Enrolled lands remain under a CREP contract for up to 15 years.

 



Knox County SWCD
233 S. Soangetaha Rd.
Galesburg, IL  61401
 
Phone: (309) 342-5138 ext 3
Fax: (855) 288-1480

Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8- 4:30 p.m.

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