Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program
The Republican River Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is a conservation program in which a large-capacity water right used for irrigation is voluntarily permanently retired, a grass habitat is established, and the well owner receives an annual payment from FSA and RRWCD in return for 15 year contract.
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What You Need to Know
The Republican River Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is a program through the Farm Services Agency (FSA) in which the water right is permanently retired and the land must be put into a grass habitat for 15 years and treated much like CRP ground. After that 15- year period is up the land may be used for grazing or dry land farming, but the well will have been retired.
Application begins at the FSA office. To meet the RRWCD requirements the land being enrolled in the program must have been irrigated; be within the RRWCD boundary, be irrigated more than 6”/acre, and be owned by the applicant for more than one year.
The applicant contacts RRWCD staff to schedule a meeting to determine the number of acres and the amount paid for that CREP well retirement.
RRWCD requires the following documents in the application for CREP
- Copy of the well permit,
- Copy of the deed for the land where the well is located,
- Document that authorizes the applicant to sign on behalf of another person or entity, and
- Ownership and Encumbrance Memorandum from the abstract office
- If the applicant is a company/corporation the applicant must provide corporate paperwork showing members of the company/corporation
- FSA 578 forms and corresponding maps showing acres certified as irrigated for the previous 6 years.
If there is a lien on the property, program checks written by RRWCD will include both the name of the applicant and the name of the lien holder as the payee.
RRWCD pays on the lesser of three values when determining the number of irrigated acres
- Number of acres allowed on the well permit
- Number of acres assessed by the County Assessor as irrigated acres the previous year
- Number of acres irrigated four of the six years according to the FSA cropping records
The amount to be paid by RRWCD for the contract is determined by multiplying the number of acres by the rate paid per acre for that particular well, depending on the location of the well and the distance from the river. Surface water is paid the highest rate and the rate decreases as distance increases from the stream centerline.
RRWCD CREP rates vary according to the following bands
A ) Surface Water entire RRWCD area
B ) SFFZ payments will be up to $4,500 through the entire SFFZ
D ) < 1 mile North Fork & Arikaree – OUTSIDE South Fork Focus Zone
E ) > 1 mile North Fork, Arikaree – OUTSIDE South Fork Focus Zone
The type of grass required for the CREP program is determined by the local NRCS offices. The producer may use up to 6 inches of water within the first 12 months to assist in establishing the cover crop and the grass. After NRCS evaluates and gives approval of cover crop, the final permit is cancelled.
The RRWCD water use fee is no longer assessed beginning the first full year of non-irrigation. Applying the 6 inches of water within the first 12 months to establish cover crop and grass is not considered irrigation when assessing the water use fees.
The land will be assessed by the county assessor as irrigated land for property tax purposes as long as the owner is receiving program payments, in the case of CREP it will be the end of the 15-year CREP contract.
Current Payment Schedules
View current and past-year revised payment schedules by county and other related documents. The FSA rates in the following documents were for 2021, we will update with 2022 rates as soon as they are released.
Map of Wells and Irrigated Acres
View a map of wells and irrigated acres within the South Fork Focus Zone (SFFZ)
Regarding a Potential for a Future Per Acre-Foot Fee that Could Include 2022 Water Use
Want More Information?
The staff at RRWCD would be happy to answer any questions you may have about our conservation programs and provide you with more information on how you can get involved. Simply fill out the form and we'll respond as soon as possible.