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TPWD News Release — Jan. 23, 2006

Brush Control Funding Offered to Landowners

Natural Resources Conservation Service News Release

San Antonio — The Edwards Aquifer Authority and Natural Resources Conservation Service have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to provide financial assistance to enhance range management through brush control on the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.

Brush control, primarily Ashe juniper (cedar) removal, has been identified as a method to increase Edwards Aquifer recharge and improve pastureland productivity.

“The focus of this MOU is to make resources available to help control Ashe juniper, but the opportunity to apply treatment lies in the hands of the private landowners in the Edwards Aquifer Region,” said Butler. “With such vast areas of the Edwards Aquifer region affected by the invasive plant, this collaborative effort and shared resources are critical to making dollars stretch farther and maximizing long term success.”

By working cooperatively, the Authority and NRCS can help landowners maximize the amount of land they can clear through brush control. In 2006, the Authority has budgeted $300,000 for this program. Under the current NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) landowners can be reimbursed for up to 50% of the costs associated with the initial removal of Ashe juniper.

Under the Authority’s Range Management Cost Share Incentives Program, landowners can be reimbursed for an additional 20% of their initial Ashe juniper removal costs if they are enrolled in EQIP. Authority funding is also available for up to 50% of follow-up maintenance costs for the Ashe juniper removal.

“This is a great opportunity for the NRCS and the Authority to work together to address a critical natural resource issue in this region,” said Potts. “The two programs really compliment one another.”

NRCS and Authority reimbursement percentages for initial Ashe juniper removal are based on NRCS-calculated county average costs for the removal method employed. Authority reimbursement for follow-up maintenance costs is based on a per-acre maximum of $15.00.

For more information, call the USDA-NRCS office in your county, listed under “USDA” in the phone book. The information for all NRCS Farm Bill programs is also on the Texas NRCS Web Site. NRCS offers its services free of charge.

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