Conservation Programs

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

Purpose: To reduce erosion, increase wildlife habitat, and improve water quality through the application of conservation plans (landowner sets aside cropland with annual rental payments).

Practices: Tree planting, grass cover, small wetland restoration, prairie restoration, and others. Eligibility: Varies by soil type and crop history. For general signups, land is accepted into the program if the offer qualifies. Continuous sign up is open for buffers, waterways, and environmental practices. Living snow fence practice now pays for 100-foot wide snow catch area with a match for areas near state highways, non-floodplain wetlands restoration initiative, and northern bobwhite quail habitat initiative.

Contract: 10-15 years depending on type of practice. Transferable with change in ownership.

Contact: NRCS, FSA, SWCDs

Conservation Security Program (CSP)

Purpose: To reward farmers and landowners for past conservation work and provide technical and financial assistance to develop conservation plans that address specific natural resource concerns.

Practices: Most structural and management practices are eligible with the exception of animal waste storage and treatment facilities.

Eligibility: Most agricultureal land in Iowa is eligible except for land in WRP, CRP, and GRP. Sign up is open on a watershed-by-watershed basis.

Contract: 5-10 year contracts in three different tiers of participation. Maximum annual payment ranges from $20,000 to $45,000 per year.

Contact: NRCS, SWCDs, FSA

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

Purpose: To provide technical and financial assistance to landowners to develop and implement conservation plans that address specific natural resource concerns.

Practices: Livestock manure management, grazing land management, soil erosion control, and water quality improvement practices are eligible for cost-share statewide. Assistance for other practices is available in selected priority areas.

Eligibility: Agricultural producers on agricultural land are eligible. Projects are selected based on environmental benefits per United States dollar expended.

Contract: 5-10 year contracts. Agricultural producers may be eligible for up to 75% cost-share, up $450,000 for all contracts for the length of the 2002 Farm Bill.

Contact: NRCS, SWCDs, FSA

Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)

Purpose: To develop and implement a restoration plan for wetlands that were previously altered for agricultural use.

Practices: Wetland restoration and wildlife habitat establishment.

Eligibility: Land that has been owned by the applicant for one year and that contains eligible soils that can be restored to wetland conditions.

Contract: Landowners may restore wetlands using permanent easements, 30-year easements or 10-year contracts. Permanent easements pay 100 percent of the difference between the fair market value of the land now and the fair market value of the property once the proposed easement is in place and 100 percent cost-share for restoration; 30-year easements pay 75 percent of the difference between the fair market value of the property once the proposed easement is in place and 75 percent cost-share for restoration; 10-year contracts pay 75 percent cost-share of restoration work only. Permanent or 30-year easements are conveyed with an easement document that is recorded at the country level. Ten-year contracts do not use recorded documents.

Contact: NRCS, SWCDs

Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP)

Purpose: REAP is a program in the State of Iowa that invests in the enhancement and protection of the state’s natural and cultural resources. Soil and Water Enhancement funds are available to landowners for soil and water conservation and enhancement projects and practices. Project money is directed towards protecting the state’s surface and ground water resources from point and non-point sources of contamination. Practices money is directed towards reforestation, woodland protection and enhancement, wildlife habitat preservation and enhancement, protection of highly erodible soils, and water quality protection. This portion of REAP is administered by the Division of Soil Conservation in the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship in partnership with Iowa’s 100 Soil Conservation District offices.

Practices: soil quality restoration, bioretention cells/swales, native landscaping, permeable pavement, rain gardens, green roofs, windbreaks, grassed waterway, grade stabilization structure, terraces, WASCOB, filter strips, wetlands, streambank protection, and others.

Eligibility: All landowners, both in urban and rural areas, are eligible.

Contract: 5-20 years depending on type of practice.

Contact: NRCS, SWCDs

To read more about Conservation Programs visit the Iowa NRCS site here.

To read more about Soil Health visit our Soil Health page.