Water Retirement Programs
The North Platte Natural Resources District (NRD) has created two new programs to help the District meet obligations under its Integrated Management Plan. The two new programs, Encouraging Producer Innovation through Conservation (EPIC) and the 10/30 Program, provide financial incentives for producers to help the District reduce consumptive use and reach its resource management goals.
Sign up for EPIC programs between March 6th - march 17th, while the 10/30 programs between January 25 - February 5. Water retirement programs are year round.
Encouraging Producers Invocation through Conservation (EPIC)
The EPIC Program includes two broad categories of potential funding.
First, the program will provide landowners with a bonus incentive payment to renew their expiring federal conservation program participation, in lieu of putting contract acres back into actively irrigated production. The payment would be available only to those producers who re-sign a contract under these programs:
- Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
- Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)
- Conservation Stewardship Program (CRP)
- Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) programs
Second, the EPIC Program will provide grant funds to producers who propose innovative agricultural practices to realize water savings through:
- Allocation buy-down
- Nitrate reduction
- Soil health
- Wildlife & habitat conservation
- Other natural resources goals
The NRD wants to tap into the innovative spirit of producers in the district to help reduce consumption and conserve resources throughout the District.
The purpose of the 10/30 Program is to temporarily retire small parcels of marginal lands (e.g, pivot corners, end guns, hard to manage fields) and is similar to the set-aside program developed by the federal government in the 1980s.
The program will focus on lands located within the zones of quickest hydrologic response to the North Platte River, so as to maximize stream accretions from irrigation cessation over the life of the program. Enrollment duration for the program would be for the entire period of the current allocation.
Commingled acres - acres with both surface water rights and groundwater wells - are eligible as long as they are under an irrigation district without a federal storage contract.
Any resident of the District would be eligible to apply for either program, though the primary focus will be on lands located within the Pumpkin Creek Basin and the overappropriated area. The District is targeting 1,000 acres for each program, subject to the availability of funds.
If you are interested in either program, call the office at 308-632-2749.