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MY MEETING CONFERENCE CALL March 30, 2005 for PRELIMINARY TRAINING and INFORMATION involving the CREP II DRAFT PROPOSAL for SE, SW, and NW, MN. Break Telephone on Mute Sign in Sheet My Meeting Software. Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program II (CREP II).

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    1. MY MEETING CONFERENCE CALL March 30, 2005 for PRELIMINARY TRAINING and INFORMATION involving the CREP II DRAFT PROPOSAL for SE, SW, and NW, MN

    2. Break Telephone on Mute Sign in Sheet My Meeting Software

    3. Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program II(CREP II) Today's session will include: Opening Remarks Preliminary Information Procedures Eligibility Roles Responsibilities Promotion and Outreach

    4. Joint Agency Effort • The information being presented today will be from the Minnesota State Offices of the: Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) USDA - Farm Service Agency (FSA) USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

    5. OPENING REMARKS • John Monson – FSA State Executive Director • Ron Harnack – BWSR State Executive Director • Bill Hunt – NRCS State Conservationist

    6. UPDATES • Status of State Funding (Bonding Bill) • CREP II Draft Agreement approval timeframe • CREP II projected sign-up start date

    7. PURPOSE • Provide field staff information to date that has been developed for the proposed CREP II Agreement for SE, SW, and NW MN. NOTE: there is a need to understand that the CREP II proposed agreement HAS NOT YET been approved. USDA is not going to move forward with a formal approval process until there is a substantial financial commitment from the State of Minnesota (the state’s substantial financial commitment is tied to the bonding bill which is hopefully only a few days away from the Governor’s approval).

    8. WHAT IS CREP II • The CREP II proposal is a 120,000 acre Federal/State Partnership in SE, SW, and NW MN that involves the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and Reinvest-In-Minnesota (RIM) Program. • CREP II involves a 15-year CRP Contract and either a 45-year or permanent RIM easement (an exception is contour buffer strips in SE, MN which will involve a 15-year CRP contract only). In either case the first 15 years are administered through CRP provisions. • The ability to enter into CREP is derived from CRP authority and therefore CRP provisions govern CREP II (without CRP CREP would not be possible).

    9. FUNDNG LEVELS • The State of Minnesota minimum contribution is 20% and the Federal Government maximum contribution is 80%. Funding levels are approximately $200 million dollars from the Federal Government and approximately $50 million dollars from the State.

    10. CREP II Protocols • The CREP II proposal is the product of extensive negotiation between governmental, agricultural, and environmental stakeholders. As a result of these negotiations a set of protocols was developed in an attempt to address the issues raised by various interests with respect to the CREP II proposal. These protocols were agreed to by John Monson, MN FSA State Executive Director and Ron Harnack, MN BWSR State Executive Director in April, 2004.

    11. CREP II Protocols • With these protocols in mind the CREP II proposal was designed to target only those most environmentally sensitive acreages identified in the three CREP areas’ original proposals with the concept of using minimum acreages necessary to address the resource concern. CREP II is not to be used to just enroll acreage with a mind set of a land retirement program.

    12. Landowner Bill of Rights • As part of the conditions of the protocols a “Landowner Bill of Rights” was developed. This bill of rights was developed to explicitly spell out what rights are maintained, what rights are forfeited, and that all of this information is clearly communicated to the CREP II participant. • The Landowner Bill of Rights will be one of the first documents CREP II applicants receive and it must be reviewed with and signed by the landowner.

    13. CREP II INTRODUCTION • CREP II seeks to convert 120,000 acres of environmentally sensitive cropland and marginal pastureland (only a small area in NW, MN) to native vegetation in order to improve water quality, reduce soil erosion, increase flood damage reduction/storage, and provide for fish and wildlife habitat in SE, SW, and NW, MN. (CRP-1 needs to be approved by 9-30-07)

    14. WHY TRAINING NOW • The State CREP II team ( County FSA, NRCS, SWCD, and Watershed personnel; State Level BWSR, FSA, NRCS personnel) decided that the CREP proposal process is at a stage where it would be beneficial to provide preliminary training and information to county staff in anticipation that an official CREP II approval is only weeks away. • Again, keep in mind the information provided should be considered draft and may be changed upon final review and approval.

    15. CREP II areas • THE MN CREP II proposal provides authority for continuous enrollment of not more than 120,000 acres in the Lower Mississippi River Watershed in Southeastern, MN; Missouri/Des Moines Watersheds in Southwestern, MN; and the Red River Watershed in Northwestern, MN.

    16. CREP II Counties • Northwest CREP area whole counties include: Kittson, Marshall, Pennington, Red Lake, Polk (East and West), Norman, Mahnoman, Clay, and Wilkin. Partial counties include: Roseau, Lake of the Woods, Beltrami, Koochiching, Itasca, Clearwater, Becker, Ottertail (East and West), Grant, Stevens, Traverse and Big Stone.

    17. CREP II Counties • Southwest CREP whole counties include: Rock and Nobles. Partial Counties include: Lincoln, Lyon, Pipestone, Murray, Cottonwood, Jackson, Martin. • Southeast CREP whole counties include; Goodhue, Wabasha, Dodge, Olmsted, Winona, Mower, Fillmore, Houston. Partial Counties include: Blue Earth, Dakota, Scott, Rice, LeSueur, Waseca, Steele, Faribault, Freeborn.

    18. Acreage Allocations and Targets The following are the acreage allocations and targets for each of the three areas: Northwest (Red River) – 51,000 acres of which: • 35,435 acres are riparian areas (15 yr CRP/45 yr RIM); • 13,440 acres are wetland restoration (15 yr CRP/perpetual RIM); • 2,125 acres of flood damage reduction (15 yr CRP/perpetual RIM).

    19. Acreage Allocations and Targets Southeast (Lower Mississippi) – 51,000 acres of which: • 14,828 are riparian areas (15 yr CRP/45 yr RIM). • 6,179 acres are groundwater protection (15 yr CRP/45 yr RIM); • 18,058 of highly erodible (15 yr CRP/45 yr RIM); • 2,850 acre of contour buffer strips (15 yr CRP only); • 6,960 acres of wetland restoration (15 yr. CRP/perpetual RIM); • 2,125 acres of flood damage reduction (15 yr CRP/perpetual RIM).

    20. Acreage Allocations and Targets Southwest (Missouri/DeMoines) – 18,000 acres of which: • 11,634 acres are riparian areas (15 yr CRP/45 yr RIM); • 2,016 acres of wellhead/groundwater (15 yr CRP/45 yr RIM); • 3,600 acres of wetland restoration (15 yr CRP/perpetual RIM); • 750 acres of flood damage reduction (15 yr CRP/perpetual RIM).

    21. Basic Procedures CREP II Forms • National CRP forms will be used for the CRP portion of CREP II; • State RIM forms will be used for the RIM portion of CREP II;

    22. Basic ProceduresEligibility Criteria • Must have owned or operated the land for a year from the date of CRP-1/CRP-2C application; • Must be cropland and meet the 4 of 6 year cropping history requirements 1996-2001; • An exception for CREP II is marginal pastureland areas in NW, MN that have suffered scour damage; • The CREP II land must be entirely within the CREP II project boundaries as defined by the four watersheds.

    23. ProceduresCREP II Payments CREP II Payments will be comprised of the following: • CRP - annual rental payment which includes a 30% incentive and the maximum allowable per acre maintenance rate as outlined in 2-CRP (Rev. 4), paragraph 124C; • SIP for CP21, CP22, CP26, and CP29;

    24. ProceduresCREP II Payments CREP II Payments will be comprised of the following: • CRP Cost-share payment not to exceed 50% of eligible costs for practice establishment; • CRP mid-contract management 50% cost-share; • PIP for CP15A, CP21, CP22, CP26, and CP29; • 25% incentive for CP23 and CP23A.

    25. ProceduresCREP II Payments RIM • One time up front bonus payment based on the average township farm land value reported on the Minnesota Land Economics website; • Cost-share not to exceed 50% of eligible costs.

    26. CREP ELIGIBILITY • Each Watershed has unique criteria which defines the locations eligible for CREP. • Technical Determinations: 1) Identify if the requested location is within the Watershed’s eligibility criteria; 2) Determine the extent of the eligible area and the extent to be enrolled; 3) Determine the CREP practice to be implemented; 4) Design the practice.

    27. CCRP Conservation Practices • Each application will have a 1. “CREP LocationDocumentation Eligibility Worksheet” and 2. “CREP PracticeDocumentation Eligibility and Suitability Worksheet that NRCS or SWCD fills out and gives to FSA County Office.

    28. SOUTHEAST CREP Eligible Locations I. Excessively Eroded Cropland II. Erodible Cropland (Contour Buffer Strips) III. Riparian Areas IV. Wetland Restoration V. Ground Water Protection VI. Decorah Shale Outcrops VII. Flood Damage Reduction areas

    29. SOUTHWEST CREP Eligible Locations I. Riparian Areas II. Wetland Restoration III. Ground Water Protection IV. Flood Damage Reduction areas

    30. NORTHWEST CREP Eligible Locations I. Riparian Areas II. Wetland Restoration III. Flood Damage Reduction areas

    31. ALL CREP LOCATIONS Riparian Areas • Perennial Stream; • Seasonal Stream (contains water for only part of the year but more than just during and/or after rainfall or snowmelt); • Wetland determined by the Cowardin Classification System; • Permanent water body containing water throughout the year in all years.

    32. CREP Eligible Wetlands

    33. CREP RIPARIAN AREA • The riparian area begins at the top of the stream bank. Some land adjacent to the stream may not meet the eligibility criteria and will not be enrolled in the CREP; however, this ineligible land shall be included: In the area used as a riparian buffer; In the conservation plan; When determining the width of the riparian area.

    34. ALL CREP LOCATIONS Riparian Areas – PRACTICE WIDTH • Maximum Average Width needed for filtering is: between 30 and 120 feet when establishing the practice CP21 Filter Strip. OR • Maximum Average Width needed for filtering between 30 and 180 feet when establishing the practice CP22 Riparian Buffer.

    35. ALL CREP LOCATIONS Riparian Areas – PRACTICE WIDTH EXTENSION Total Width can be extended up to a maximum of 350 ft for any of the following purposes: • Water quality improvement • Wildlife habitat • Flooding • Squaring off fields

    36. ALL CREP LOCATIONS Riparian Areas – PRACTICE WIDTH EXTENSION • Total width can be extended Not-To-Exceed 600 ft. only when occasionally or frequently flooded soils exist (must be at least 51% of land within extension) • Show location and extent of “frequently/occasionally flooded” soils on photo, map or sketch.

    37. NORTHWEST CREP ONLY Riparian Areas – The Northwest will have provisions to enroll non-cropland areas that have experienced scour erosion using practice CP-29.

    38. CREP Wetland Restoration The area offered must be entirely • within the 100-year floodplain for CP23 • outside the 100-year floodplain for CP23A

    39. CREP Wetland Restoration Technical Evaluation Eligible sites are limited to only those wetland areas that have had the wetland hydrology component removed through alteration by drainage and/or manipulation and where it is feasible and practical to restore the wetland. If any of the hydrologic components of the wetland cannot be restored through removing, blocking, manipulating or otherwise rendering inoperable the wetland drainage system, the wetland area is not eligible for enrollment.

    40. CREP Wetland Restoration Technical Evaluation Cropping cessation and the subsequent establishment of vegetation on a wetland area in itself is not considered an eligible restoration option. Floodplain restorations must be evaluated to insure that the flood storage area is not reduced or adversely impacted through the placement of fill, dikes, levees, or embankments.

    41. CREP Wetland Restoration Technical Evaluation All restorable wetland areas must meet USDA wetland criteria. This means that the site, 1) contains hydric soils, 2) meets wetland hydrology criteria (when restored), and 3) has or will have after restoration, hydrophytic vegetation.

    42. CREP Wetland Restoration Technical Evaluation The goal of this enrollment area is to restore the wetland ecosystem to the maximum extent possible. Initial wetland restoration feasibility assessments must be completed and must consider avoiding impacts to adjacent properties, utilities, or other infrastructures unless approvals, permits or consents are attainable.

    43. CREP Wetland Restoration Design Criteria Wetland acreage eligibility can be determined independent of USDA wetland determinations This acreage will typically include all hydric soil map units directly affected by the drainage and/or manipulation of the wetland. This is also the wetland acreage that will be used to determine the amount of eligible cost share. The CREP Wetland Restoration practices may also enroll a buffer limited to the number of acres required to provide protective buffer to the cropped wetland and to enhance wildlife habitat not to exceed a ratio of 2 acres of buffer to 1 acre of restored wetland.

    44. CREP Wetland Restoration Design Criteria Wetlands will be restored using standard 657. Vegetation establishment criteria are dependent on the native ecosystem. The native ecosystem can be determined by the soil survey or by the native vegetation maps (TRYGG maps). Buffer areas for sites developed under a grassland ecosystem will be seeding according to standard 645 using a mixed stand with a minimum of 5 native species consisting of at least 3 grasses and 1 forb. Buffer areas for sites under a woodland ecosystem will use standard 612 or 645.

    45. SOUTHEAST CREP Excessively Eroded Cropland FSA will determine and document excessively erodible cropland in a field or redefined field with an EI of 15 or greater using General Sign-Up Offer Processing (GSOP). Use the 3 most predominant soils when calculating the weighted average EI.

    46. SOUTHEAST CREP Excessively Eroded Cropland Documentation required : • Attach a printout of the GSOP result showing the average EI. • Attach the GIS map/soil map and the CLU of the eligible areas.

    47. SOUTHEAST CREP Excessively Eroded Cropland Applicant, with the assistance of technical agencies, chooses one the practices: • CP2 Establishment of Permanent Native Grasses • CP3A Hardwood Tree Planting • CP4D Permanent Wildlife Habitat

    48. SOUTHEAST CREP Erodible Cropland (Contour Buffer Strips) FSA will document erodible cropland in a field or redefined field with an EI of 8 or greater using General Sign-Up Offer Processing (GSOP). Use the 3 most predominant soils when calculating the weighted average EI.

    49. SOUTHEAST CREP Erodible Cropland (Contour Buffer Strips) Note: This determination is entirely different than the NRCS HEL determination process