Environmental Quality Incentives Program

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a water conservation program in which the well owner voluntarily retires their large-capacity water right used for irrigation and in exchange is provided annual compensation through the NRCS and RRWCD. The contract length may vary.

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What You Need to Know
About EQIP

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a conservation program through the Natural Resources Conservation Services, (NRCS) in which a large capacity water right is permanently retired and the applicant is allowed to use the acreage for dryland farming or for grazing. Call the RRWCD office at (970) 332-3552 to inquire about current enrollment information and deadlines.

How to begin the application process

Application begins at the NRCS office. The land being enrolled in the program must have been irrigated two (2) out of the last five (5) years just prior to enrollment, must be within the boundary of the RRWCD and must be owned by the current owner or entity for more than one year.

After you receive an offer from the NRCS for an EQIP contract

After the applicant receives an offer from the NRCS for an EQIP contract, the applicant should contact the RRWCD staff to determine eligibility for an RRWCD Water Activity Enterprise supplemental contract and determine what funding is available. Applicant has 30 days after signing an NRCS contract in which to sign a contract with the RRWCD in order to qualify for RRWCD Water Activity Enterprise funding.

The RRWCD requires the following documents for an EQIP application
  1. Copy of the well permit,
  2. Copy of the deed for the land where the well is located,
  3. If the applicant is signing on behalf of another person or entity, legal documentation from that person or entity must be submitted with the application,
  4. The previous five (5) years of FSA-578 certifications and corresponding maps showing the acres that were irrigated by the well.
The RRWCD Water Activity Enterprise pays on the lesser of three values when determining the number of irrigated acres
  1. Number of acres allowed on the well permit
  2. Number of acres assessed as irrigated by the County Assessor the previous year
  3. Number of acres irrigated two (2) of the last five (5) years according to the FSA cropping records
RRWCD Water Activity Enterprise rates

The rate paid by the RRWCD Water Activity Enterprise in 2020 was $1,140 per irrigated acre on land irrigated by wells located within the South Fork Focus Zone, and $240 per irrigated acre on land irrigated by wells located outside the boundaries of the South Fork Focus Zone. (See interactive map)

If there is a lien on the property

If there is a lien on the property, payments from the RRWCD Water Activity Enterprise will be payable to the
name of the applicant and the name of the lien holder(s) as the payee.

Land owner requirements upon start of EQIP contract

The applicant has one (1) year from date of signing the OAI contract with the RRWCD Water Activity Enterprise in which to permanently shut down the well, to meet with RRWCD staff to complete the Well Owner’s Statement and Request to Cancel a Well Permit and if needed, the Water Well Permit Application (Form GWS-44) if the well owner wishes to apply to down-size the well to a small capacity well for livestock/domestic purposes and to abandon or downsize the well.

First 5 payments are subject to well shut-off verification

The first of five (5) annual payments is subject to the RRWCD staff verification that the well has been properly
abandoned or was modified to comply with the small capacity well statute. All subsequent payments will be
made by July 1st during the life of the contract.

RRWCD Water Use Fee

The RRWCD Water Use Fee is no longer assessed after the first full calendar year of non-irrigation.

How EQIP-contracted land is assessed by the County Assessor

The land will be assessed by the County Assessor as irrigated land for property tax purposes until the end of the EQIP contract with NRCS.

EQIP Program documents

View all documents and records related to the EQIP Program.

RRWCD District Boundary

View a map of wells and irrigated acres within the RRWCD Boundary and view the boundary of the South Fork Focus Zone (SFFZ).

Related Information

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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.

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