Important Enrollment Deadline for Nesting Cover and Shorebird Programs

Important Enrollment Deadline for Nesting Cover and Shorebird Programs

The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications now, for shorebird habitat and cover crop practices starting this fall and winter. Those interested need to apply by May 28.

Cover crop planting is part of a new set of two related practices to ultimately provide waterfowl breeding habitat. Phase 1 will utilize an NRCS cost-share payment to help establish fall cover crops, which can be terminated before 2022 rice planting or left in place and optionally transitioned into the next phase. Phase 2 (Waterfowl Nesting Habitat) will provide a modest “conservation rental payment” for idle acres that have quality vegetative cover. The payment for Phase 2 (expected to be $20-$30 per acre) will clearly not create any incentive for idling, but rather provide some modest revenue for those willing to dedicate unplanted acres (due to water cuts or other factors) as high-quality wildlife habitat. 

The shorebird habitat practices being offered are already well-established. They primarily focus on providing shallow flooding either before or after the traditional flood-up and drainage periods of winter-flooding.

A summary of current practices and payment rates can be found here. For more details or to apply visit your local NRCS County office, contact information can be found in the table below. All applications due by Friday, May 28, 2021.

For general questions, contact Luke Matthews, CRC’s Wildlife Programs Manager, at (916) 607-8988 or  

Key NRCS Office Locations and Contact Information

Butte150 Chuck Yeager Way, Suite A., OrovilleDan Taverner – District
Colusa100 Sunrise Blvd., Suite B. ColusaWendy Krehbiel – District Conservationist530-458-5131
Glenn132 N. Enright Ave, Suite B., WillowsRob Vlach – District
Placer11661 Blocker Dr., Suite 115
Chris Robbins – District Conservationist(530)
Sacramento9701 Dino Dr.Suite 190
Elk Grove
Toney Tillman-District Conservationist(916)
Sutter/Yuba1511 Butte House Rd., Suite B, Yuba CityPa Yang – District
Yolo221 W. Court St., Suite 1., WoodlandPhil Hogan – District

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Rice Levee Program – Enrollment Now Open

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California Waterfowl Association (CWA) will be soliciting applications for the Rice Levee Program starting on September 25, 2023. This program is funded by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, through the Nesting Bird Habitat Incentive Program, which allows rice farmers to submit bids for the management of their internal levees for upland nesting bird species (Mallard, Gadwall and Pheasant). To participate in this program, rice levees must be reconstructed before January 1st or left from previous growing season. Enrolled levees must be left undisturbed until July 15th.