CONSERVATION 2000 (C-2000) PROGRAM OBJECTIVES AND HIGHLIGHTS
The C‑2000 Program provides cost‑share assistance and other financial incentives for the construction or adoption of C-2000 Projects that conserve soil and protect water quality, that reduce soil erosion and improve water quality, Water Well Decommissioning Projects (WDP) to safely decommission inactive water wells and help reduce the potential for groundwater pollution and Nutrient Management Planning (NMP) to encourage farm operators to utilize soil testing to increase efficiency of fertilizer use and reduce nutrient transport to water bodies.
The objectives and highlights of the C‑2000 Program are as follows:
‑ Assist landusers with sheet and rill erosion exceeding T (tolerable soil loss level), or with ephemeral/gully erosion, in constructing C-2000 Program projects, which conserve soil, protect water quality and reduce flooding.
- Provide incentives to eligible landusers for the adoption of nutrient management projects that minimize the transport of nutrients to surface water and groundwater.
- Provide incentives to owners of abandoned wells to properly decommission
and seal the wells so the potential for groundwater pollution is reduced or
- All 98 SWCDs are eligible to receive an allocation of C‑2000 Program
monies. Contracts are signed between the SWCD and cost‑share recipients.
‑ Availability of cost‑share payments on Class VI‑VIII land that is exceeding T is limited to new permanent pasture and hayland establishment (not for reestablishment or maintenance), nutrient management plans and well decommissioning.
‑ Local average costs
or fixed per acre or per unit payments are used to determine maximum cost‑share
payments for an approved C-2000 project.
SWCDs that have an approved, high-priority watershed with identified water quality impairments and a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) strategy being developed. Eligible practices for TMDL watershed areas are limited to erosion and sediment control and/or nutrient management plan practices that address identified impairments to the stream segment or waterbody.
C‑2000‑PROGRAM AND EROSION AND SEDIMENT CONTROL PRACTICE GUIDELINES
A. Allocation of Dollars To SWCD
1. All 98 SWCDs are eligible to participate in the state C‑2000 Program provided that cropland experiencing sheet and rill erosion and/or ephemeral/gully erosion exists in the SWCD and/or the SWCD has an approved, high priority watershed with identified water quality impairments and/or the SWCD has abandoned water wells that pose a threat to groundwater. All program monies allocated to SWCDs must be used to share the cost of eligible projects or provide financial incentives to adopt eligible practices with landusers who qualify for the program.
2. Earmarked funds for C-2000 Program will be allocated in four nearly equal payments as determined by the Department as the funds become available. If at any time a SWCD has failed to commit an amount equivalent to the next allocation, the Department may redistribute funding to other SWCDs or hold the next allocation until such time as the funds are committed. The Department may release funds to another SWCD that has made a request for additional funding. All funds will be included on the Grant Agreement form, but may be amended as necessary by the Department and individual SWCDs.
1. Landuser participation ‑ Any landuser is eligible to apply for and receive state C-2000 Program assistance provided he/she has a signed agreement or is a Cooperator with the SWCD and has an agreement or a conservation plan approved by the SWCD on file. Renters of land may also apply for cost‑share assistance provided that the landowner or authorized agent of the landowner also signs an agreement for C -2000 Program monies to be received. Public entities (i.e. community colleges, municipalities, county forest preserves, soil and water conservation districts, etc.) can qualify for C-2000 Program assistance only if monies are available after all eligible private sector requests have been approved.
2. Land Qualification ‑ To receive C-2000 Program cost‑share monies, the land upon which a landuser intends to install eligible C-2000 Program practices must meet the criteria for the individual practice. However, C-2000 Program cost‑sharing for erosion and sediment control on Class VI through VIII cropland is limited to new, permanent pasture and hayland establishment (re‑establishment or maintenance is not eligible). The landuser's present cropping sequence/system is to be used to calculate soil loss for erosion and sediment control project eligibility. Application for erosion sediment control projects may only be made for projects included in the conservation plan, included on the state and SWCD eligible C-2000 Program projects list, and for land included in the field for which the conservation plan has been prepared that is experiencing sheet and rill erosion exceeding T or ephemeral/gully erosion.
C. Eligible Projects
1. The Illinois Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Land and Water Resources will prepare a list of conservation projects eligible for C-2000 Program assistance. Eligible conservation projects will emphasize soil erosion control and water quality protection. The list will be reviewed periodically by the State Soil and Water Conservation Districts Advisory Board and changes may be made accordingly.
2. SWCDs will annually select a docket of conservation projects, prior to approving any projects for the Fiscal Year, from the state list that will be eligible for C-2000 Program assistance in the SWCD. All or a portion of the conservation projects from the state approved list may be selected.
3. To better utilize both C-2000 Program monies available from the state, and Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) monies available from the federal government, it is recommended that the SWCD Board and the Farm Service Agency County Committee annually coordinate the formation of a joint docket of eligible conservation projects and cost‑share rates.
D. Rates For Cost‑Sharing
1. The Illinois Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Land and Water Resources will set maximum cost‑share or financial incentive rates for each conservation project. Cost‑share or financial incentive rates for the state C -2000 Program shall not exceed:
Sixty (60) percent of the actual cost or sixty (60) percent of the average cost (this is explained in part "E" below), whichever is less, established for a particular conservation project in the County.
a. The maximum/minimum allowable acreage or unit number specified for the particular practice or project; or
b. The dollar per acre flat rate maximum established for some conservation projects.
2. Along with their annual docket of eligible conservation projects, each SWCD will also establish cost‑share and financial incentive rates for each conservation project prior to approving any projects for the fiscal year. Rates may not be changed again until the next fiscal year. Cost‑share rates may be equal to or less than the rates established by the state.
LIST OF ELIGIBLE CONSERVATION - 2000 PROGRAM PROJECTS
NOTES: No‑Till and Strip Till Planting System – Only fields to be planted to corn and never before planted no‑till or strip till are eligible. Payments are limited to no more than $800 per landowner and only once per landowner/operator. Cost‑share is eligible only on the portion (acres) of the field exceeding T. If other cost‑share projects are applied with C‑2000 Program cost‑share dollars, and no‑till or strip till is necessary to protect the C ‑2000 Program Projects for their design life span, the land user must agree to continue no‑till or strip till for the remainder of the design life span with no additional cost‑share payments for no‑till or strip till. If it is deemed necessary due to weed or insect infestations and in the interest of proper agronomic stewardship that these projects must be temporarily discontinued, they must be re-implemented as soon as the reason for their discontinuance has been addressed and maintained for the remainder of the agreement period.
Cover Crops ‑ Only fields never before planted with a cover crop are eligible. Payments are limited to a maximum of 40 acres for one year per landowner. Cost‑share is eligible only on the portion (acres) of the field exceeding T. If other cost‑shared projects are applied with C‑2000 cost‑share dollars and a cover crop or residue management is necessary to protect the conservation projects for their 10-year life span, the landuser must agree to implement this management project for the remainder of the 10-year period with no additional cost‑share payments.
Temporary Cover - Only land in row crops that will be disturbed during construction of a structural project is eligible. Temporary cover can be cost-shared up to a maximum of $150.00 per acre to provide erosion control and allow access for construction of planned structural projects without destruction of crops. The district may set maximum payment rates that are lower than the $150.00 maximum established by the Department if it determines that a lower rate is more appropriate. The purpose of this component is to lengthen the construction season and allow for construction to occur while crops are still in the field. Acreage eligible for Temporary Cover cost-share payments will be limited to the minimum acreage required for necessary construction activities. The Temporary Cover practice cannot be used as a component of terrace projects. Payments for this project component cannot be made prior to satisfactory completion of the structural project.
Terraces ‑ Maximum cost‑share payments for terrace systems must be based on the average cost for narrow ridge or grassed backed terraces. Broadbase terraces may be constructed. However, the maximum incentive payment will be based upon the average cost for constructing narrow ridge or grassed backed terraces.
Nutrient Management - Eligibility is limited to plans of 10 acres or more where the next crop planted is scheduled for an application of N, P or K fertilizer. A maximum of 200 acres to any landuser in one year is allowed.
Well Decommissioning - There is no maintenance period for a properly abandoned and sealed well. Once properly completed, the project is considered permanent there is no maintenance requirement, there is no need to complete a C-2000-1A form for the Well Decommissioning Practice. A limit of four wells per district has been set for the FY 07 program year.
Pasture and Hayland Planting - Pasture and Hayland Planting projects using grasses as the predominant crop will be required to be maintained for a ten (10) year period. Where clover and/or alfalfa are the predominant crop, the landuser must agree to maintain the project for a five (5) year period. The cost-share rate is 60% up to a maximum of $125 cost-share per acre which ever is less. The cost-share rate in TMDL Watersheds is 80% not to exceed $175/acre which ever is less. Example 1: landuser cost of $208.33/ acre x 60% = $125 per acre cost-share. Example 2: landuser cost of $160/acre x 60% = $96 per acre cost-share.
Water and Sediment Control Basin - NRCS Practice Standard 638 records Water and Sediment Control Basins by number of basins constructed. The Department provides incentive payments based on average cost per foot and will record the number of basins installed.
NOTE: All practices and projects for which cost-share is being sought must meet standards for such projects or practices that have been established by NRCS or some other technically qualified agency or organization approved by the Department.
TMDL Watershed Program: Beginning in FY 2003, the Illinois Department of Agriculture shifted some of its resources to more directly address water quality concerns. These funds are used for incentive payments to landowners/operators within that specific watershed to promote the use of management practices that reduce the movement of the specific pollutant causing the water quality impairment. If sediment or siltation is identified as the cause, traditional erosion control practices are eligible for the cost-share. If phosphorus is the cause of the impairment, the conservation practice for developing nutrient management plans and traditional erosion control practices are eligible. However, if nitrate is the sole cause of the impairment, only the nutrient management plan conservation practice is eligible for incentive payment with these targeted funds. Well sealing is not an eligible practice for TMDL cost-share funds.
THE FOLLOWING COST SHARE DOCKET APPLIES ONLY TO ESTABLISHED TMDL WATERSHED AREAS.
STATE LIST OF ELIGIBLE TMDL PRACTICES
MAXIMUM COST‑SHARE OR FINANCIAL INCENTIVE RATES
THE NUMBER OF YEARS PRACTICES/PROJECTS MUST BE MAINTAINED
PRACTICE C-2000 PROGRAM MAXIMUM COST‑MAINTENANCE
E. Establishing Average Costs
The C-2000 Program requires the use of average costs in determining the dollar amounts of cost‑share monies to be paid to a landuser for construction of an approved conservation project. The use of an average cost only applies to C-2000 Program Practice projects that have an established cost‑share percentage, not to C-2000 Program Practice projects for which a flat-rate financial incentive payment has been set. Establishing and using an average cost is an equitable and cost‑efficient means of ensuring that public dollars for similar C-2000 Program Practices are expended consistently.
It should be noted that the cost‑share amount paid by a landuser for a completed conservation project may be more than the cost‑share rate set by the SWCD for the approved conservation project. When the average cost for a conservation project is set for the projects being considered in a fiscal year, the cost‑share recipient should find a contractor who is willing to complete the work for the average cost. If the landuser does not receive a competitive bid at the average cost, or prefers to have a particular contractor do the work at a higher price, the landuser is responsible for the cost difference and may therefore pay more than his percentage as set by SWCD cost‑share rates.
The C‑2000 Program provides a financial incentive to the landuser, but it does not, in all cases, mean that the exact cost‑share percentage set for a conservation project is used to calculate the cost‑share payment and the landuser's share. This should be explained to the landuser prior to signing the contractual agreement to avoid confusion.
F. Application For Cost‑Share Assistance
To be eligible for cost‑share assistance, a landuser must first become a SWCD Cooperator or sign an agreement allowing access to SWCD personnel to the property where the project is to be implemented. A conservation plan shall then be completed and approved by the SWCD Board on all or a part of the operating unit, based upon the land user's decisions on which field or fields they would like to begin conservation work. Not all fields must have conservation plans. However, alternative Resource Management Systems (RMS’s) should be presented for all fields in the operating unit for which the land user intends to apply for cost‑share assistance.
When alternative RMS’s are presented to the land user, the land user is in a better position to make decisions regarding conservation applications. This process will assist in pointing out the field or fields with sheet and rill erosion exceeding T or ephemeral/gully erosion, which would qualify for cost‑share assistance under the C-2000 Program, and assist the land user in reaching decisions on which fields to treat. Once the qualifying field or fields are pointed out to the land user as being eligible, and decisions are made by the land user, a conservation plan should be prepared.
The conservation plan should describe all soil conservation projects for essential treatment in a Resource Management System (RMS). The RMS must be designed to meet "T" and/or treat ephemeral/gully erosion. Essential treatment in an RMS is defined in the NRCS/SWCD Technical Guide.
In preparing a conservation plan, a land user must also decide the time frame for installing the RMS. A decision must be made on whether the application will be for a single year or a multi‑year request. At this time, it should also be pointed out to the land user which conservation projects are eligible for C-2000 Program cost‑share and which are not eligible. Non‑eligible cost‑share conservation projects (i.e. residue management) must still be agreed to by the land user if they are essential to the RMS and for reducing erosion. Eligible and non‑eligible cost‑share conservation projects contained in an RMS must be maintained or performed by the land user for a minimum of ten years on the field or fields for which C-2000 Program cost‑share monies are received. (See Section AA for instructions on non‑compliance.)
a) Stone Toe Protection
b) Stream Barbs
c) Bendway Weirs
d) Rock Riffles
BACKGROUND ON THE SSRP
Streambank erosion has become a serious threat to the land, water, plant and animal resources along many streams in Illinois. Streambank erosion, when left unchecked, can be responsible for the loss or damage to valuable farmland, wildlife habitat, buildings, roads, bridges and other public and private structures and property. Streambank erosion is also a major source of sediments deposited in Illinois lakes, streams and backwater areas, and may contribute to as much as 30-50% of the downstream sediment load. Sediment reduces stream channel capacity, which may increase flooding and streambank erosion, or reduce the depth and holding capacity of lakes and reservoirs. Excessive sedimentation also degrades water quality and destroys fish and wildlife habitat.
To address these needs, the Streambank Stabilization and Restoration Practice (SSRP) has been established. The SSRP will provide demonstration and cost-share projects that will target cost-share monies to severely eroding streambank sites where effective low-cost streambank stabilization techniques can be established.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE SSRP
The primary goals of the SSRP are to develop and demonstrate vegetative, stone structure and other low‑cost bio‑engineering techniques for stabilizing streambanks and to encourage the adoption of low‑cost streambank stabilization projects by making available financial incentives, technical assistance and educational information to landusers with critically eroding streambanks.
Objectives associated with the above goals are as follows:
• Stabilize and restore high priority streambanks that are severely eroding using dormant plantings, vegetative materials, stone structures and other low‑cost techniques.
• Reduce the loss of streambanks and reduce loss and use limitations on adjacent land areas, including agricultural land, urban land, wildlife habitat and other properties and land uses.
• Reduce soil loss and the resulting sedimentation that can fill stream channels and deplete the holding capacity of lakes and reservoirs.
• Protect water quality by reducing nutrients and chemicals contained in soil material or runoff waters from entering a stream or water body.
• Protect aquatic life and habitat, and fisheries by reducing erosion and sedimentation and restoring beneficial vegetation.
• Protect real estate, public and private property, infrastructure, public works, buildings and structures and other investments or improvements.
• Protect, create or restore wildlife habitat.
• Improve land and water aesthetics by stabilizing streambanks with natural vegetation.
• Slow stream velocity during high water or flooding conditions and reduce flood damage.
• Demonstrate the effectiveness of low‑cost streambank stabilization techniques to the public.
ELIGIBILITY FOR COST‑SHARING ASSISTANCE
All landusers and project sites (rural and urban) in each Illinois county are eligible for a SSRP demonstration project, watershed project and/or cost‑share assistance provided that the project site meets the assessment and selection criteria established for successful streambank stabilization using approved low-cost, vegetative, stone structure and/or other bio‑engineering techniques.
All project proposals must be sponsored and prepared with the approval of the local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) Board and with the technical assistance of qualified staff from the SWCD, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and/or the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
FY 2007 SSRP COMPONENTS
In FY 2007, the SSRP will include three program components: a cost-share component for cost-sharing with landusers on projects utilizing approved low-cost stabilization techniques; a demonstration project component; and a watershed project component. All three program components will use the SSRP application forms to submit a request for assistance. Unless otherwise stated, all program deadlines and application requirements pertain to all three components.
The cost-share component in FY 2007 is available for cost sharing on willow post installation, bendway weirs, rock riffles, stream barbs/rock vanes, lunker structures, gabion baskets and stone toe protection techniques. Additional projects may be implemented with prior approval from the Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Land and Water Resources. SWCDs who submit a cost-share request for one of the above techniques must have the technical expertise available to provide assistance to a landuser.
Cost‑sharing for all eligible and approved project components will be 75 percent. The remaining 25 percent is the obligation of the landuser. The actual cost‑share amount approved will be based on the budget included in the Project Application and Site Assessment Form submitted for review. Eligible payment will be based on 75 percent of the actual eligible costs contained in the final bills, not to exceed the approved amount.
There is no limit on the total program payment for cost-share projects that a landuser can receive in a fiscal year. However, a maximum cost per foot of bank treated is used to cap the payment assistance on a per foot basis and maintain the program’s objective of funding low-cost techniques. Monies approved for the project from federal or local sources can be used as a match with state funds. In‑kind services may also be used as an eligible match.
Demonstration Project Component
The demonstration project component may include projects demonstrating low‑cost bio‑engineering techniques, including the techniques listed under the cost-share component. Demonstration project application proposals may be submitted only by SWCDs who have not previously sponsored the specific technique to be demonstrated. Demonstration projects will be funded at 100 percent.
The program payment for demonstration projects may be limited by the Department due to the size of the project. In addition, a maximum cost per foot of bank treated is used to cap the payment assistance on a per foot basis and maintain the program’s objective of funding low-cost techniques. SWCDs may also be eligible to receive demonstration project administrative funding.
Watershed Project Component
The other option that can be used to secure SSRP funds is to submit an SSRP watershed project proposal. The objective of a watershed project is to improve water quality and reduce sedimentation. The emphasis of this type of project is treating critical areas of streambank erosion with a variety of low-cost techniques on an entire stream segment within a watershed.
SWCDs submitting an SSRP watershed project proposal should have an active watershed resource planning committee and a watershed resource management plan that includes streambank erosion as a resource concern. The watershed resource management plan should also address upland soil erosion and sedimentation issues.
A streambank stabilization implementation plan must be developed for the watershed or stream segment to be treated. The plan should include an inventory of streambank erosion treatment needs and a survey of landuser participation/implementation interest.
SWCDs may submit proposals for up to $35,000 annually to treat a defined watershed’s streambank erosion problem. Since the objective is to treat all of the sites on the stream segment within a watershed, the cost-share rate can be as high as 80 percent for each individual project within the segment needing treatment. All low-cost techniques previously identified are eligible for a watershed project.
There is no limit to the total amount of cost-share funds that a landuser can receive in a fiscal year. However, a maximum cost per foot of bank treated is used to cap the payment assistance on a per foot basis and maintain the program’s objective of funding low-cost techniques. SWCDs may be eligible to receive funds to cover administrative costs associated with watershed demonstration projects.