The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) has a successful track record for addressing concerns while allowing landowners to continue their agricultural operations. CREP projects address salmonid riparian habitat functions and provide conditions for cool streams. With increased concerns regarding the pace of salmonid habitat protection and restoration, CREP is one of the most effective riparian program tools in the state's toolbox for the restoration of riparian habitat.
CREP has shown consistent improvement of resource conditions in areas where landowners have implemented the program. Since 1999, we have completed 1,113 contracts with an average of 74 new contracts per year, and 5.2 million trees and shrubs have been replaced over this period. The rate of new contracts has slowed somewhat over the past few years due to budget reductions.
- Identifying how CREP can be enhanced to address resource concerns relating to salmon habitat and water quality conditions.
- Expanding the use of CREP to areas of the state where there are resource concerns but limited use of CREP, sometimes due to conservation district capacity issues.
- Focusing CREP in targeted ares of watersheds to show measurable resource improvements, as we have done in the Tucanan River.
- Exploring opportunities to enhance CREP contract payments to increase landowner participation, particularly in areas where neighboring landowners are also interested in CREP.