Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program

The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in Idaho is designed to address water shortages in the Eastern Snake River Plain, an area that extends from King Hill to Ashton. Factors such as increased use of groundwater, drought and changing irrigation practices have resulted in decreased spring flows in tributaries of the Snake River.

The overall goal of the Idaho CREP program is to retire up to 100,000 acres of groundwater-irrigated land. This reduction will provide a water savings of approximately 200,000 acre-feet per year.

Financial incentives: In exchange for removing groundwater-source irrigated cropland from production, farmers, ranchers, and agricultural land owners are paid a modest annual rental rate. Participation is voluntary, and the contract period is 15 years with the ability to re-activate the water right and return to irrigated farming or possible re-enrollment at the end of the contract period.

The Program is a direct partnership between the Conservation Commission, USDA Farm Service Agency, NRCS, Idaho Department of Water Resources, Idaho Department of Fish & Game, and other entities such as the Idaho Ground Water Appropriators, local irrigation districts and Pheasants Forever. The NRCS field office tech guide and technical references are followed by the commission staff when recommending establishment of native vegetative cover.

For more information, contact Chuck Pentzer, State CREP Coordinator, at chuck.pentzer@swc.idaho.gov or (W) 208-332-1794 or (C) 208-810-0765.

CREP June 2013 Thumb