Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program

Hawaii CREP Image 1Hawaiʻi CREP is now available for enrollment on Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lanaʻi, Maui, and Hawaiʻi Island! 

The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is a federal-state natural resources conservation program that addresses state and nationally significant agricultural related environmental concerns. Through CREP, program participants receive financial incentives from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the State to voluntarily enroll in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program in contracts of 15 years. Participants are asked to convert degraded lands to native trees, shrubs, and grasses. The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers CREP for USDA.

The Hawaiʻi CREP is a partnership between USDA and the State of Hawaiʻi that was created to address Hawaiʻi specific environmental concerns like water quality and quantity, invasives species, and loss of native habitat for rare species. The program seeks to enroll 15,000 acres of eligible land in 15 year agreements within the following counties: Hawaiʻi, Maui, Kauaʻi, and City and County of Honolulu.

The project will restore riparian forest buffers, wetland buffers, and other reforestation sites by planting native vegetation and controlling invasive species. The primary goals of the project are to enhance wildlife habitat and control invasive species, as well as improve water quality and quantity, increase groundwater recharge, improve near shore coral reef health and diversity by filtering agricultural runoff and increasing water condensation in the uplands.

Benefits:

Hawaiʻi CREP will provide for restoration of previously forested, degraded agricultural land. The project will improve wildlife habitat through the creation of riparian forest buffers corridors and expansion of critical habitat for the many threatened, endangered, and rare species of Hawaiʻi. This project will improve water quality and quantity by reducing soil runoff, increasing potential ground absorption, and reducing stream sedimentation and nutrient loading to near-shore environments. In addition, Hawaiʻi CREP seeks to enhance coral reef habitat and increase diversity of associated aquatic species by decreasing the amount of run-off from the upland terrestrial environment.

Goals of Hawaiʻi CREP:

  • Reduce sediment and nutrient runoff from current levels.CREP image_mini
  • Increase coral reef cover and substantially increase coral diversity on coral reefs throughout the State.
  • Improve wildlife and plant habitat of at least 10 threatened or endangered species through restoration of native forest ecosystems and riparian buffers.
  • Reforestation of native vegetation in riparian buffer zones as well as rare and declining native habitats.
  • Increase groundwater recharge through the planting of trees in upland pastures.
  • Reduction in and control of invasive species in watersheds within the CREP target areas.

Eligibility:

CREP Bird image_miniLandowners or lessees with land that is physically and legally capable of being agricultural productive are eligible for the program. Other requirements may also apply. Interested producers should contact their local FSA service center for specific information regarding their eligibility. For those parties interested in the program but potentially limited by an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) limitation proposed under the 2008 Farm Bill, more information on AGI waiver requests and considerations can be found here.

Sign-up:

Hawaiʻi CREP sign-up is available starting on April 1st, 2009. Interested parties should visit their local USDA Service Center for more information and to determine eligibility. Sign-up availability is dependent upon Farm Bill authorization.

Conservation Practices:

Interested applicants are asked to voluntary set aside their land from production and dedicate to conservation.  Conservation practices available under Hawaiʻi CREP (click on the practice for more information):

USDA Payments:

Hawaiʻi CREP participants will be eligible for the following types of USDA payments (subject to contract terms and certain limitation):

  • Annual per acre Rental Payment: An annual payment according to FSA CRP National Directives and the Hawaiʻi CREP Agreement.
  • Cost-Share Payments: A payment to all participants for up to 50 percent of eligible reimbursable costs for establishing conservation practices.
  • Signing Incentive Payment (SIP): A one time payment of $100 per acre for eligible pastureland practices;
  • Practice Incentive Payment (PIP): A one-time additional payment equal to 40 percent of the eligible reimbursable cost for establishing conservation practices.
  • Mid-contract Management Payment: A payment is available 3 times during the contract for up to $450 per acre. Payment can include activities such as invasive species control, replanting, and fence repair.

State of Hawaiʻi Payments:

The State of Hawaiʻi will provide the following payments to Hawaiʻi CREP participants:

  • An annual Hawaiʻi CREP Incentive Payment (HCIP) in the amount of $17 per acre for enrollment into any approved practices.
  • Funds may be available for reimbursement of eligible cost-share practice to be determined annually and subject to availability of funding;
  • Funds may also be available to landowners in CREP watersheds for the purchase of permanent Conservation Easements (CE). The purchase of CE’s will be in conjunction with other conservation funding programs or non-profit land trust entities.

Under Hawaiʻi CREP, the State of Hawaiʻi will provide a program coordinator; staffing and support for technical assistance to implement the CREP, annual monitoring and evaluation of project progress; establish a program steering committee, seek potential participants and perform other duties according to the Hawaiʻi CREP agreement. So please contact the Hawaiʻi CREP Coordinator at DOFAW if you have any questions on the program or are interested in enrolling in the program.

Cost:

CREP Landscape image_miniHawaiʻi CREP brings in federal monies in support of conservation that will benefit the agricultural community and the general public. The total cost for Hawaiʻi CREP over a 20-year period is estimated at $67 million, with USDA contributing $53.6 million and the State of Hawaiʻi funding $13.4 million or 20 percent of the total program cost. The $67 million does not include any costs that may be assumed by producers.

Partners:

Hawaiʻi CREP will bring together partnerships that will allow conservation to be more effective throughout the State and is one of the missing pieces of conservation support on agricultural lands. The program will be implemented jointly by:

  • USDA FSA
  • USDA NRCS
  • Hawaiʻi DLNR, Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

Other partners involved in Hawaiʻi CREP include (among others):

  • Hawaiʻi DOA
  • Watershed Partnerships
  • University of Hawaiʻi Manoa

For More Information:

For more information on Hawaiʻi CREP contact Melissa Irene Sprecher, Hawaiʻi CREP Coordinator at DLNR-DOFAW (808) 587-4167 or via email.

For more information on FSA and its programs, visit a local FSA or USDA Service Center or find more information on its website.

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