CRWD puts incentives for conservation in 2013 levy

Published 5:53 am Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Cedar River Watershed District board of managers set the 2013 budget and property tax levy last Wednesday, with funding included for a new incentives program to retain conservation farm acres with expiring contracts.

The CRWD board unanimously approved 2013’s $634,716 budget and a property tax levy of $250,000, which was the maximum proposed levy set by the board earlier this year. Next year’s levy will be a $25,000 increase from the 2012 levy. A main reason for the increase is the watershed district’s new Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) incentives, totaling $35,000 and focused on helping water quality.

A voluntary federal program, CRP provides agricultural landowners annual rental payments and cost-share assistance to establish long-term, resource-conserving covers on eligible farmland. With the CRWD’s incentives, funds are offered to help keep existing CRP land in that program when contracts expire.

Email newsletter signup

CRWD officials have seen a need for offering incentives to keep land enrolled in CRP because high crop values are enticing landowners to plow land when their CRP contract expires.

Also part of the 2013 budget, the CRWD staff has $42,950 to work closely with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to offer funding for tree removal from waterways causing significant problems with streambank erosion and negatively affecting water quality.