The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Idaho has announced the application period for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) portion of the project by the Friends of the Tetons. This project seeks to address growing concerns related to the loss of agriculture lands in Teton Valley, as well as loss of prime soils, loading of ground and surface water with sediment and the loss of wildlife habitat along the Teton River and its tributaries.
The RCPP project, which will be done in collaboration with the Friends of the Teton River and the Teton Regional Land Trust will utilize the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program’s (ACEP) Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) arm.
The ACEP focuses on restoring and protecting wetlands as well as conserving productive agricultural lands and grasslands. Landowners are compensated for enrolling their land in easements. Through ACEP-ALE, NRCS provides funds to conservation partners to purchase permanent conservation easements on private working lands. This program helps keep working lands working, especially in areas experiencing development pressure.
Partners include state or local agencies, non-profits and tribes. Landowners continue to own their property but voluntarily enter into a legal agreement with a cooperating entity to purchase an easement. The cooperating entity applies for matching funds from NRCS for the purchase of an easement from the landowner, permanently protecting its agricultural use and conservation values. Landowners do not apply directly to NRCS for funding under this program.
Interested landowners in the Teton Valley will need to work through the Teton Regional Land Trust to submit an application. The Trust can be reached at 208-354-8939. The deadline for applications is April 27, 2020.