CA Catastrophic Fire Recovery EQIP Fund Pool

USDA: Natural Resources Conservation Service of California


Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Individuals Organizations

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program

Location of project: California

Location of residency: California

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Overview:

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary, conservation program administered by NRCS that can provide financial and technical assistance to install conservation practices that address natural resource concerns. The purpose of EQIP is to promote agricultural production, forest management, and environmental quality as compatible goals; to optimize environmental benefits; and to help farmers and ranchers meet Federal, State, Tribal, and local environmental regulations.

About the Catastrophic Fire Recovery EQIP Fund Pool

The purpose of the Catastrophic Fire Recovery EQIP Fund Pool is to provide immediate resource protection in areas burned by catastrophic fires in the past eighteen months. Priority resource concerns for the Catastrophic Fire Recovery EQIP Fund Pool include immediate soil erosion protection, minimize noxious and invasive plant proliferation, protect water quality, and restore livestock infrastructure necessary for grazing management on Forestland and Rangeland.The State Conservationist has determined that the geographic scope of a Forest Management Plan and NIPF does not include areas within 100 feet from a building or a greater distance if required by state law, or local ordinance, rule, or regulation. 

The immediate consequence of fire is the potential for soil erosion. Intense heat from fire can cause the soil to repel water, a condition called hydrophobicity. The potential for severe soil erosion is a consequence of catastrophic wildfire because as a fire burns it destroys plant material and the litter layer that protects the soil from eroding during severe rainstorms and moving off- site to surface water bodies, roads and other sites. 

Immediate action to control soil erosion at burned forest and range sites include treatments such as using damaged trees or woody residues to slow runoff water, creating check dams in drainages and spreading straw to protect the soil and reseeding efforts. Most post-burn range sites are also susceptible to invasion by noxious weeds. 

Rangeland noxious weeds and soil erosion can be controlled through management and distribution of livestock to facilitate recovery of burned sites most at risk for erosion and weed proliferation. In some cases, range planting may be necessary if range seed source is absent. 

Many existing forestland and rangeland access roads and culvert systems may be severely damaged during fire suppression activities. In addition, emergency roads created during the fire event may need to be addressed - both are potential sources of sediment and turbidity in surface water bodies. Riparian zones with heavy biomass accumulation are often high intensity fire areas where temporary access trails were built for fire suppression and these trails can be direct sediment sources to riparian streams as well. 

Following catastrophic fires noxious and invasive plants often proliferate on post-burn sites. Forests that are not planted with tree seedlings within one growing season of the fire will result in shrub regeneration that can capture sites where natural regeneration is not present. These shrub communities can be very aggressive and within one season will dominate the forest site, increasing the intensity of reforestation practices such as herbicide application, mastication or brush raking to ensure the success of tree plantings.

Land Uses for the EQIP Fund Pool

Only applications for agricultural operations that address resource concerns on at least one land use type listed below will be considered for financial assistance from this EQIP Fund Pool. The descriptions below are the general NRCS land use definitions - applications should fit within, but do not need to exactly match, these descriptions. 

  • Forest: Land on which the primary vegetation is tree cover (climax, natural or introduced plant community) and use is primarily for production of wood products or non-timber forest products.
  • Range: Land used primarily for the production of grazing animals. Includes native plant communities and those seeded to native or introduced species, or naturalized by introduced species that are ecologically managed using range management principles. 
  • Associated Agricultural Lands: Land associated with farms and ranches that are not purposefully managed for food, forage, or fiber and are typically associated with nearby production or conservation lands. This could include incidental areas, such as odd areas, ditches and watercourses, riparian areas, field edges, seasonal and permanent wetlands, and other similar areas.

Resource Concerns for the EQIP Fund Pool

Only applications for agricultural operations that address at least one resource concern listed below will be considered for financial assistance through this EQIP Fund Pool. The descriptions below are general NRCS natural resource definitions, applications should fit within, but do not need to exactly match, these descriptions.

Soil Erosion – Erosion removes topsoil, reduces levels of soil organic matter, and contributes to the breakdown of soil structure.

  • Sheet and Rill Erosion: Sheet and rill erosion is the detachment and transportation of soil particles caused by rainfall runoff/splash and/or irrigation events. Symptoms of soil erosion by water include: small rills and channels on the soil surface, soil deposited at the base of slopes, sediment in streams, lakes, and reservoirs, and pedestals of soil supporting pebbles and plant material.
  • Classic Gullies: Classic gullies are forms of erosion created by the concentrated flow of water. Classic gully erosion generally occurs in well-defined drainage ways and generally is not obliterated by tillage. Untreated classic gullies may enlarge progressively by head cutting and/or lateral widening.

Water Quality Degradation – Water quality degradation impacts the beneficial use of the receiving waters. Excessive Sediment in Surface Water: Off-site transport of sediment to surface water can impact water quality and aquatic habitat. Not only does sediment carry nutrients and pesticides that can negatively impact water quality, but the physical characteristics of sediment can clog stream channels, silt in reservoirs, cover fish spawning grounds, and reduce downstream water quality.

  • Elevated Water Temperature: Water temperature has important ecological consequences and potential negative impacts for human use. As water temperature rises, there is a corresponding decrease in the availability of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and other gases important to aquatic life.Warm water also has the potential to increase the presence of dissolved toxic substances that may restrict the suitability of water for human use.

Degraded Plant Condition – Plant condition degradation can result in stress, disease, insect damage and result in changes to the structure and composition of plant communities.

  • Inadequate Structure and Composition: Plant communities, such as - wetland habitat, unique ecosystems or targeted plant communities, have insufficient diversity, density, distribution patterns, and three-dimensional structure necessary to achieve ecological functions and/or management objectives.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.

Eligibility:

  • In order to be considered eligible for EQIP the applicant must have a vested interest in production agricultural or non-industrial private forest land and meet other program eligibility requirements.

Preferences:

  • Interested applicants are encouraged to request conservation planning and technical assistance from a local NRCS field office to help with the development of a conservation plan.