Our partner, ECCD, is preparing plan to maintain good water quality in the State of Connecticut's largest drinking water watershed. This is the first such project funded with EPA Clean Water Act funds through the CT DEEP. You are invited to follow along, participate and share your ideas. Sign up for the Naturally Natchaug e-newsletter to learn more about this project. m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=172127197496570&id=109077080468249... See MoreSee Less
At Mansfield Hollow Lake in Mansfield, three rivers join together; the Natchaug, Mount Hope and Fenton Rivers. The Connecticut DEEP has determined the upper Natchaug River basin to be an example of a ...
From the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) – an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture – has announced it is seeking public comments on its interim rule for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). ACEP is USDA’s premier conservation easement program, helping landowners protect working agricultural lands and wetlands. The rule – now available on the Federal Register – takes effect upon publication and includes changes to the program prescribed by the 2018 Farm Bill.
“Through easements, agricultural landowners are protecting agricultural lands from development, restoring grazing lands, and returning wetlands to their natural conditions,” said Connecticut State Conservationist Thomas L. Morgart. “The new changes to ACEP under the 2018 Farm Bill make it stronger and more effective and will result in even better protection of our nation’s farmlands, grasslands, and wetlands.”
NRCS is investing more than $300 million in conservation easements across the nation for Fiscal Year 2020. NRCS state offices will announce signup periods for ACEP in the coming weeks.
Changes to ACEP for agricultural land easements include: • Authorizing assistance to partners who pursue “Buy-Protect-Sell” transactions. • Requiring a conservation plan for highly erodible land that will be protected by an agricultural land easement. • Increasing flexibility for partners to meet cost-share matching requirements.
Changes to ACEP for wetland reserve easements include: • Identifying water quality as a program purpose for enrollment of wetland reserve easements. • Expanding wetland types eligible for restoration and management under wetland reserve easements.
“Conservation easements have a tremendous footprint in the U.S., with nearly 5 million acres already enrolled. That’s 58,000 square miles,” NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr said. “This is a great testament to NRCS’s and landowner’s commitment to conservation.”
NRCS invites comments on this interim rule through March 6, 2020, on the Federal Register. Electronic comments must be submitted through regulations.gov under Docket ID NRCS-2019-0006. All written comments received will be publicly available on regulations.gov.
NRCS will evaluate public comments to determine whether additional changes are needed. The agency plans on publishing a final rule following public comment review.
Applying for ACEP
ACEP aids landowners and eligible entities with conserving, restoring, and protecting wetlands, productive agricultural lands, and grasslands. NRCS accepts ACEP applications year-round, but applications are ranked and funded by enrollment periods that are set locally.
Save the date for the Winter 2020 TRBP meeting. We will meet on Tuesday, January 21 (snowdate January 28) at the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Conference Room, located at 238 West Town Street in Norwich, CT. The meeting will begin at 9:30 AM and end by noon.
Mary Becker of CT DEEP will be our featured presenter. She will explain how freshwater diatoms can be use to for detecting water pollution, especially related to extra phosphorous. Anyone is interested in natural resource conservation in the greater Thames River watershed is welcome to attend.
Following the presentation, the Partners will give a brief overview of their efforts towards the TRBP Plan of Work.