Funds Still Available to Improve Kansas Windbreaks, Streamside Forests

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas landowners now have until April 18 to apply for cost-share funds to restore or enhance windbreaks and streamside forests, also called riparian forests. The funding is available through the 2014 Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI).

This newly-extended deadline means the $684,000 earmarked for Kansas' 2014 projects is still available for qualified landowners, said Bob Atchison, rural forestry coordinator for the Kansas Forest Service.

"As a USDA initiative, the CCPI can address all kinds of natural resource needs associated with agricultural lands. Landowner participation is both voluntary and competitive. The projects also can be ambitious enough to take more than one funding year," Atchison said.

CCPI forestry funds can cover the majority of costs for establishing riparian plantings and for improving or renovating windbreaks, forests and woodlands, he said. The costs can include using heavy equipment to remove unhealthy trees, planting quality trees and shrubs, controlling weeds, and installing protective fencing or a micro-drip irrigation system.

"For Kansas, the initiative couldn't come at a better time," Atchison said. "The state's needs are becoming critical, in terms of our having healthy, mature trees in place – not only to preserve our soil resources but also to protect our water resources. Increasing pressures on our natural resources have been leaving us in an increasingly vulnerable place."

The CCPI is part of the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). Landowners apply for CCPI-EQIP funds at the Natural Resource Conservation Service office in their local U.S. Department of Agriculture Service Center. NRCS offices can take applications at any time. Applications that miss a particular year's deadline simply go into the next fiscal year's selection pool.

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