Funding is now available to ranchers in the Bi-State area who want to pursue projects that will improve sage-grouse habitat and water quality on their land.
The USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) has created an $8 million fund to support initiatives conserving the Bi-State population of greater sage-grouse and enhancing ranch water quality in the Bi-State region of eastern California and western Nevada.
Eastern Sierra Land Trust spearheaded the funding request for this new “Livestock in Harmony with Bi-State Sage-Grouse” RCPP with ten other national, state, regional, and private partners.
This program is designed to assist agricultural producers in the Bi-State region who want to adopt conservation practices on land they own or manage. It offers financial assistance to ranchers and landowners who wish to pursue projects that will restore sage-grouse and other wildlife habitat, improve agricultural water quality, conserve private ranchlands, and upgrade agricultural infrastructure.
The RCPP can help cover the costs of conservation projects that protect wetlands, conserve sage-grouse habitat and sagebrush systems, and safeguard productive ranchlands against development or conversion. Awarded in 2017, this $8 million funding pool is available until 2022, and is only accessible to agricultural producers in the Bi-State area.
For projects to be considered for funding through this RCPP, they must focus on one or both of the following goals:
- Permanent protection of ranches containing grasslands of special significance and/or wetlands, especially those containing habitat for the Bi-State greater sage-grouse.
- Implementation of pasture and rangeland management practices to improve water quality, wetland habitat, and/or sagebrush systems.
Landowners can apply for this RCPP funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). Of the $8M in NRCS funding, $7,235,000 will go to agricultural and wetlands conservation easement purchases through ACEP, and $765,000 will go to EQIP projects.
Learn more about the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for Nevada and California.
Learn more about the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).
“Livestock in Harmony with Bi-State Sage-Grouse” Project Area
The Project Area for this RCPP is denoted above, in red. This region, called the Bi-State, encompasses an area approximately 170 miles long and up to 60 miles wide. It includes portions of Douglas, Lyon, Carson City, Mineral, and Esmeralda Counties in Nevada, and portions of Inyo, Mono, and Alpine Counties of California – in total, an area of 7,000 square miles.
Private landowners within the area designated above are eligible for project funding assistance through this RCPP. Under some circumstances, ranchers with the authority to operate on public lands (e.g. a grazing lease or permit) in this area are also eligible for funding.