by Alicia Pimental
February 15, 2011
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Maryland and Bay Bank, the Chesapeake Bay’s conservation marketplace, are working together to help agricultural operators and forest landowners implement conservation practices that will make them eligible to receive private funding to protect and enhance important habitats, forestland and clean water.
The partnership provides financial assistance for conservation practices that improve habitat conditions for critical species such as brook trout, bog turtles, Delmarva fox squirrels and Atlantic white cedar. Practices that benefit other habitats and water quality, including wetlands and forest buffers, are also eligible.
Bay Bank is a collaborative effort to increase the pace and scope of conservation across the Chesapeake region. Bay Bank integrates existing programs and policies and uses innovative, market-based solutions to support “ecosystem services” that people depend on. As participants implement their conservation practices, groups such as wastewater treatment plants and private foundations may purchase credits from their practices to meet their permits or organizational goals.
NRCS will provide assistance through its Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Bay Bank will provide program participants with tools and support to help them engage in ecosystem markets.
To learn more about the program, contact NRCS at your local USDA service center or your local soil conservation district. Additional information can be found online at thebaybank.org. Applications are due May 1.