United States

Department of


Natural Resources



1351A Highway 146 Bypass

Liberty, Texas 77575

PH.  (936) 336-9145 Ext.3

FAX (936) 336-7224


Programs Available Through the NRCS

June 2000

Texas Senate Bill 503 - Water Quality Management Plans

This is a state program made available through the Lower Trinity Soil and Water Conservation District.




The purpose is to develop Water Quality Management Plans (WQMP) in an effort to reduce nonpoint source pollution.  WQMP’s are developed voluntarily by landowners with technical assistance provided by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  The WQMP includes appropriate land treatment measures and best management practices that meet the producer’s goals and at the same time meet the goal of reducing nonpoint source pollution.




This means that the landowner and the District will each pay part of the cost for a certain practice.  After a WQMP is developed and certified, cost-share may be requested for certain practices as funding is available.  Pasture planting, cross-fencing, grade stabilization structures, and irrigation land leveling are eligible practices for cost- share in Liberty County.  The cost-share rate is up to 75% of the actual costs incurred, not to exceed $2500 per operating unit.




The producer agrees to follow the WQMP for 10 years (or the established life of the practice).




A producer may signup for a WQMP at the NRCS office anytime.  Cost-share is allocated by the Lower Trinity SWCD as funds are available.


TPWP- Texas Prairie Wetlands Project

TPWP is sponsored by a private/state/federal partnership that includes Ducks Unlimited Inc., Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.




Provides technical and financial assistance to producers to create, restore, and enhance wetlands for the benefit of migratory waterfowl and associated species of wildlife.




Up to 75% cost-share for construction costs depending on acreage and benefits derived.  Applicant may request 100% of construction cost if water is guaranteed by applicant each year for the life of the agreement (10 or 15 years).  Maximum cost-share per agreement is $10,000 to $15,000 depending on acreage and life of the agreement and other environment considerations.




Maintains and manages the wetland according to a 10 to 15 year wetland development agreement and management plan.





Request TPWP assistance at the NRCS office anytime.


WRP- Wetland Reserve Program


WRP is a USDA program administered by the NRCS.




WRP is a voluntary land-retirement program to assist owners of eligible lands in restoring and protecting wetlands.  There are 3 options in the WRP program:

1.      Permanent Easement- The landowner sells a perpetual (permanent) conservation easement on the land.  Payment is based on the lower of the appraised agricultural value of the land, or the established cap of $550.00 per acre.  In addition, USDA pays 100 percent of the cost to restore the wetland. The landowner retains ownership and responsibility for the land, including property taxes.  The landowner controls access to the land, retain the right to hunt, fish and other appropriate recreational uses; and may sell or lease land enrolled in WRP.  Uses of the WRP easement by the landowner must be approved by the NRCS.

2.      30-year Easement- The landowner sells a 30-year conservation easement to NRCS.  Payment is based on whichever is less, 75% of the appraised ag value or 75% of the established cap of $550.00 per acre.  In addition, USDA pays 75% if the restoration costs.  Other restrictions apply as in the Permanent Easement.

3.      Restoration Cost-Share Agreement- The USDA pays 75% of the cost to restore the wetland.  This is a 10 year agreement.  The landowners manage the land in accordance with a Restoration and Management Plan.


A former or degraded wetland that is restorable and will provide wildlife benefits.



An application may be submitted to the NRCS anytime.  Applications are ranked and compete on a state wide basis.  Applications selected for funding will be the most important environmentally and those economically feasible to restore and maintain.

FIP- Forestry Incentives Programs


FIP is administered by the NRCS.  Technical assistance is furnished by the Texas Forest Service.




FIP is a cost-share program created to increase the supply of timber products from “NonIndustrial Private Forest” by promoting tree planting and timberstand improvement.  Practices are implemented thru a FIP timber management plan.




Up to 50% cost share is available for tree planting and timberstand improvement practices on tracts up to 1000 acres, with a maximum of $10,000 per individual per year.  Applications for funding compete on a statewide basis.  The lower the cost per acre, the better the chance of getting funded.




Practices must be maintained by the landowner for at least 10 years.




There is a continuous signup for FIP.  Funding periods are announced periodically.


EQIP- Environmental Quality Incentives Programs


EQIP is a USDA program administered primarily by the Natural Resources Conservation Service with assistance from the Farm Services Agency.




EQIP is an environmentally oriented program to help producers address serious soil, water, air, plant and animal resource concerns.  A conservation plan is developed that addresses natural resource concerns and at the same time meets the producer’s goals.




Up to 75% cost-share is available for installing conservation practices.  Incentive payments can also be paid for certain land management practices.  Maximum cost-share is $50,000, with a yearly maximum of $10,000.

Producers compete for entry into the program based on a ranking system that determines which applications provide the greatest environmental benefits at the least cost to the program.




Producer signs a minimum 5-year contract to carry out and maintain the conservation plan.





There is a continuous signup for EQIP; however, the ranking process and funding periods are announced by USDA on an annual basis.

CRP- Conservation Reserve Program


CRP is a USDA program administered by the NRCS and the FSA.




CRP is a cropland retirement program, and also a multipurpose conservation program.  There are two options in CRP:


Option 1:

Periodically announced CRP signups allow producers to enroll eligible cropland and receive annual rental payments for “retiring” these acres for a 10-year period.  CRP also provides cost-share assistance of up to 50% to establish long-term resource-conserving vegetative covers on eligible land. Eligible cropland must have been cropped 2 out of the last 5 years, and must be one of the following:  highly erodible, cropped wetland, or associated with non-cropped wetlands.  Eligible land is then ranked and “bid” into the program.  Top-ranked bids are selected to be funded based on an environmental benefits index that is computed for each application.


Option 2:

Under a continuous CRP signup process, small acreages of environmentally sensitive land may be enrolled.  These small acreages may be applicable on cropland or marginal pastureland.  For example, vegetative filter strips along creeks, bayous, intermittent streams, or buffer areas around wellheads may qualify. Eligible applications under the continuous signup are automatically accepted in CRP, and receive annual rental payments and cost-share for installing conservation practices such as grass or tree planting.  CRP acreage may not be hayed or grazed.



Maintains and manages the CRP acreage following establishment of approved vegetation for a ten or fifteen year period.  Haying and grazing is not allowed.




These are sign-up periods, which are announced by USDA and continuous sign-up for environmentally sensitive areas.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status.  (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)  Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD)


To file complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326W, Whitten Building, 14th  and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD.)  USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.