Agricultural Water Enhancement Program, a new program, is authorized under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program in the 2008 farm bill. U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service will implement AWEP by entering into partnership agreements with eligible entities to conserve ground and surface water or improve water quality, or both, in their region.
A notice of request for proposals was published in the Federal Register. Proposals should be submitted to the NRCS National Headquarters and the appropriate State Conservationist by March 2.
Entities eligible to enter into partnership agreements include federally recognized Indian Tribes, states, units of local government, agricultural or silvicultural associations, or other groups of such producers, such as irrigation associations, agricultural land trusts, or other nongovernmental organizations that have experience working with agricultural producers. All federal funds awarded through these agreements will be paid to producers. No federal funds may be used to cover administrative expenses of partners. Nationally, $58.4 million is available for AWEP financial assistance. The NRCS Chief may give higher priority to proposals located in several regions, including the Ogallala Aquifer.
The following link www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/awep/ contains complete information, including the Federal Register notice, on submitting a proposal, requirements, ranking considerations, and agreements. A letter of review from the NRCS State Conservationist must be included. Eric B. Banks is the State Conservationist for Kansas. His office address is NRCS, 760 South Broadway, Salina, KS 67401; FAX785-823-4540.
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