Jeff Harlow, Acting,
Asst. State Conservationist for Programs
Natural Resources Conservation Service
For immediate release
offers funding for sage grouse habitat
Expiring CRP acres targeted
SPOKANE, Wash. (March 15, 2010) – Washington’s agricultural producers with
expiring Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres in sage grouse habitat areas,
need not “grouse” about a lack of land treatment options, thanks to a new
initiative from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
According to Acting Asst. State Conservationist Jeff Harlow, producers may be
eligible to receive up to three years of rental payments for retaining sage
grouse habitat on expiring CRP contracts.
The sign-up deadline for the program is April 23, 2010.
“Payments to producers will be based on forgone income as a result of leaving
CRP land idle, and could be as high as $47 per acre,” Harlow said. “We’re really
focusing on protecting the CRP acres that have become such critical habitat for
In addition, Harlow said that additional practices to improve sage grouse
habitat may be applied with funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives
Program (EQIP) or the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), which
typically pays up to 75 percent of the costs for those practices.
Such practices include: Retrofitting existing fences to increase their
visibility and reduce sage-grouse mortality; installing escape ramps for
wildlife in watering facilities; deferring grazing in nesting areas to increase
residual cover and increase brood survival rates; and treating noxious or
invasive weeds to improve range condition and sage-grouse habitat.
“As an added benefit,” Harlow said, “improving sage-grouse habitat will also
promote overall grazing land health and the sustainability of an agricultural
The initiative is limited to sage grouse habitat areas of central and eastern
Washington. For more information on this and other conservation opportunities,
producers are urged to contact their USDA-NRCS Service Center Office.
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of
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individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all
prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require
alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large
print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600
(voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director,
Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C.
20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an
equal opportunity provider and employer.
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