CREP – A Solution for Healthy Streams
Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is a voluntary program that helps agricultural producers protect environmentally sensitive land, decrease erosion, restore wildlife habitat, and safeguard ground and surface water. CREP is administered by USDA’s Farm Services Agency in partnership with the State of Oregon and local soil and water conservation districts.
Goals of Oregon CREP:
- Reducing water temperature to natural levels
- Reducing the sediment and nutrient pollution from agricultural land adjacent to streams
- Restoring stream bank vegetation to a properly functioning condition
- Stabilizing stream banks to normal non-flood conditions
Healthy Riparian Buffers:
- Create shade to keep streams cool for native fish
- Provide leaves, twigs and logs for aquatic insects and fish habitat
- Provide habitat for wildlife species
- Stabilize and protect soil from scour erosion
- Reduce downstream flooding
- Protect water quality by filtering runoff of sediment and contaminants
CREP is for:
- Landowners who have a perennial or seasonal stream running through or bordering their property (ditches may qualify in some cases)
- Landowners with weed-dominated stream banks and/or erosion concerns
- Landowners who want to establish native trees and shrubs and improve the aesthetics of their property
- Landowners who want to attract more wildlife and pollinators
Payments and Incentives
CREP participants receive financial and technical assistance in exchange for establishing and maintaining riparian buffers or filter strips. A qualified technician will develop a site plan for your specific needs, at no cost.
Cash payments include:
- Cost-share (up to 75%) for site preparation and installation costs, such as invasive species removal, fencing, planting, and labor. In Washington County, all site prep and installation costs are covered.
- Annual rental and maintenance payments (varies by county and crop history). Premium rates for irrigated land available (participant must temporarily lease water rights for enrolled area to state for in-stream use).
- Sign-up bonus and payment for completing conservation practices.
- Bonus payment equaling four times the annual rental payment when at least half of a five-mile stream reach is enrolled (two-miles in Washington County).
Example Payment: 5 acres, 10 year contract
- Enroll at any time
- Contract terms of 10 to 15 years available
- Buffer widths can range from 35 feet to 180 feet
- Continue annual payments with re-enrollment
Live in Washington County, Oregon?
If so, you’ll enjoy even higher benefits including:
- Highest annual rental payments in Oregon
- All site prep, planting, and maintenance completed by contract crews at no cost to you
- Bonus payment available when just half of a two-mile stream reach is enrolled.
Eligible land includes cropland or pastureland along a stream. Lands classified as forest or woodland are not eligible. Applicant must have owned or operated the property for at least one year. Applicant’s average adjusted gross income must not exceed $900,000.
Interested in a Tour or Site Visit to Learn More?
We're planning a tour or two to introduce landowners to CREP over the winter/early spring of 2017/2018. If you're interested in attending this, or if you would like a technician to walk your stream with you to evaluate and discuss a potential CREP project, let us know.