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Water: Nonpoint Source Success Stories

State Funding Programs State Conservation Reserve Enhancement Programs

State Conservation Reserve Enhancement Programs (CREP) address important local conservation concerns by combining USDA's Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) with state technical and funding assistance. CRP is administered by the USDA's Farm Service Agency, which protects fragile farmland by assisting owners and operators in conserving and improving soil, water, and wildlife resources. This is done by converting highly erodible and other environmentally sensitive acreage normally devoted to the production of agricultural commodities to a long-term approved cover. Participants enroll in contracts for 10 to 15 years and, in some cases, easements, in exchange for annual rental payments and cost-share assistance for installing certain conservation practices.

At least 14 states have approved CREP agreements in place, and at least an additional 8 states have CREP proposals under review. Many states are contributing significant amounts of funding to CREP. For example, Oregon provides $50 million (along with $200 million from USDA); North Carolina, $54 million (with $221 million from USDA); and Pennsylvania, $77 million (with $137 million from USDA).

States are also enrolling large tracts of land in the CREP. For example, Illinois's $250 million CREP may have up to 232,000 acres continuously enrolled in the CRP through 2002. Goals of the program include reducing total sediment loading to the Illinois River by 20 percent; reducing phosphorus and nitrogen loading to the Illinois River by 10 percent; increasing populations of waterfowl, shorebirds, and state and federally listed species by 15 percent within the project area; and increasing native fish and mussel stocks by 10 percent in the lower reaches of the Illinois River.

For more information on State Conservation Reserve Enhancement Programs, see http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/crp/. Exit EPA Disclaimer

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Clean Water State Revolving Fund Programs

Under the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program, EPA provides grants or "seed money" to all 50 states and Puerto Rico to capitalize state loan funds. The states, in turn, make loans to communities, individuals, and others for high-priority water quality activities. As money is paid back into the revolving fund, new loans are made to other recipients that need help in maintaining the quality of their water. Currently, the program has more than $27 billion in assets.

The CWSRF program allows states the flexibility to provide funding for projects that will address their highest-priority needs. Although the CWSRF has traditionally been used to build or improve wastewater treatment plants, eligible nonpoint source projects include virtually any activity that a state has identified in its nonpoint source management plan. Loans can be used for control of agricultural runoff, conservation tillage and other projects to address soil erosion, development of streambank buffer zones, and wetland protection and restoration. Twenty-eight states have funded more than $1 billion of such nonpoint source and estuary projects through 2000.

For more information on the CWSRF program, see Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

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