HARRISBURG, PA, September 14,
2015– The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is
accepting applications to help producers improve water and air
quality, build healthier soil, improve grazing and forest
lands, conserve energy, enhance organic operations, and
achieve other environmental benefits.
NRCS NRCS will be able to provide funding assistance
directly to Pennsylvania farmers and landowners in Fiscal Year
2016 to help them implement conservation practices through the
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the
agency’s largest Farm Bill conservation program, the
Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) program, and the
Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Interested
producers should visit their local
NRCS service center
for sign-up information.
“USDA conservation programs offer farmers and forestland managers a variety of options to conserve natural resources while boosting production on their lands,” State Conservationist Denise Coleman said. “This conservation investment helps improve environmental health and the economy of Pennsylvania’s rural communities.”
EQIP, RCPP and AMA provide financial assistance for a
variety of conservation activities, such as nutrient
management, reduced tillage, field buffers, rotational grazing
systems and much more. RCPP focuses on public-private
partnerships in designated geographic areas to enable private
companies, local communities and other non-government partners
a way to invest in conservation efforts to help keep our
private land resilient and water clean.
For FY 2016, funding for contracts through RCPP will be
available for the following projects:
- Delaware River Watershed Working Lands Conservation
and Protection Partnership (Parts of Berks, Bucks,
Chester, Lehigh and Montgomery Counties within
designated watershed clusters)
- Comprehensive Watershed Conservation in Dairy and
Livestock Landscapes of the Chesapeake Bay (Bradford,
Juniata and Lancaster Counties)
- Mason-Dixon Working Lands Partnership (Franklin
County and the Pretty Boy watershed in York County)
- Cerulean Warbler Appalachian Forestland Enhancement
The deadline to submit applications to be considered in the
2016 first ranking period for funding consideration in
Pennsylvania for EQIP, AMA and RCPP is Friday, October 16,
2015. Applications received after that date will be accepted
and considered for funding in the second ranking in December,
if funds remain. .
Additionally, NRCS offers special initiatives through EQIP, including:
- On-Farm Energy Initiative: helps producers conserve energy on their operations.
- Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative: helps producers install high tunnels designed to extend the growing season into the cold months, increase productivity, keep plants at a steady temperature and conserve water and energy.
- Organic Initiative: helps producers to install conservation practices on certified organic operations or those working toward organic certification.
To participate in USDA conservation programs, applicants should be farmers or farm or forest landowners and must meet eligibility criteria. To take advantage of NRCS technical assistance and expertise or federally funded conservation on your farm or land, please contact your local USDA NRCS Field Office found at http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov, or visit our website at www.pa.nrcs.usda.gov for applications and program information.
In November 2013, the Department of Environmental Protection approved an amendment to the Dauphin County Act 167 Stormwater Management Plan. This county wide plan was originally approved by DEP in 2010. Most municipalities in Dauphin County subsequently adopted Stormwater management ordinances base on the model ordinance provided in the 2010 plan. Included in the model was a section that provided criteria for exempting regulated projects from some of the requirements of the ordinance.
In response to concerns that were recently raised regarding the exemption criteria, the Conservation District developed an amended exemption section. The amendment provides greater flexibility and regulatory relief for regulated projects under certain circumstances.
The amendment provides three exemption alternatives to municipal governments as follows. The three options were developed to allow municipalities to choose to revise their ordinance or keep their ordinance the same while still remaining consistent with the DEP approved plan and amendment.
1. The first option is to retain the existing ordinance exemption criteria. This option was provided to allow municipalities that are satisfied with their current ordinance to retain the existing language with no formal action required.
2. The second option allows municipalities to adopt exemption criteria that consider not only new impervious cover, but also the separation distance from the new impervious cover to features potentially impacted adversely by increased stormwater runoff. Some of the features considered are property lines and surface waters such as streams and wetlands. If a municipality choses this option, the municipality will need to formally adopt a revision to their existing stormwater management ordinance.
3. The third options would allow a municipality to implement the separation distances as the first consideration in granting an exemption and also allow the municipality to fall back on the original exemption criteria where appropriate to provide regulatory relief. If a municipality choses this option, the municipality will need to formally adopt a revision to their existing stormwater management ordinance.
For more information contact the Dauphin County Conservation district at 717-921-8100
To view the existing and amended ordinance language, use the links below:
ORIGINAL EXEMPTION LANGUAGE
AMENDED EXEMPTION LANGUAGE