Conservation

Enrollment Opportunity for Habitat Program on Idled Rice Acres — Reminder

Enrollment Opportunity for Habitat Program on Idled Rice Acres — Reminder

As part of our ongoing programs funded by Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), we are interested in enrolling rice fields that will be idled during the 2024 growing season and have cover crops or significant volunteer vegetation on them. If selected, this program will pay eligible rice farmers $33.78/acre to leave vegetation undisturbed for the waterfowl nesting season (April 1 – July 15) and allow access to monitor nesting activity.

To sign up, please get in touch with Kristin Sesser (contact info below) and visit your local NRCS office to ask about this practice. Application deadline is April 5, 2024. See the important policy note below explaining that this practice is allowed on fields that are also included in a water transfer program.

Program Details:

  1. Must have idle rice fields for this 2024 growing season
  2. Must have vegetation on the fields suitable for nesting birds (cover crops are preferred but volunteer plants can be acceptable as well)
  3. Must have brood water nearby through July 15 (i.e. ponds, flooded rice field, irrigation canal)
  4. Leave the fields undisturbed from April 1 to July 15
  5. Payment rate: $33.78/acre

Important Note:

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) recently released a policy letter that applies to water transfers in 2024. This letter states that farmers enrolled in this program can both transfer water and leave vegetation on their transfer fields for the benefit of nesting birds. This is a welcomed temporary modification of the transfer policy and it only applies to transfers during 2024, after which DWR and Reclamation will re-evaluate.
For general questions contact the CRC’s Wildlife Programs Manager Kristin Sesser at ksesser@calrice.org or (916) 607-8988; otherwise please visit your local NRCS office to apply!

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