Spring 2017 

News and Updates

The CREP Outreach Program Office
PA Association of Conservation Districts
25 North Front St., Harrisburg, PA 17101

In This Issue
There are a couple important  topics addressed in this edition of the CREP newsletter.

Talk about the "acreage cap" has caused some confusion - but the bottom line is that CREP continues to be open in PA and has actually expanded into the Delaware River Basin. Take a few minutes and read about what's happening.

Also, you'll want to check out the CREP events coming up for both potential new and existing CREP participants.  More events will be added soon so check CREPPA.org and the CREP Facebook page to see what's going on.  Let us know if you have an event coming up or want to tell your CREP partners about an event you held.   
Be sure to pass this newsletter along to your colleagues or anyone else who works with CREP. 

Join Our Mailing List!

May 17, 2017  
Beaver County Conservation District:
CREP Maintenance Field Walk 
Sponsored by Beaver County Conservation District. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required by May 12. Snacks and drinks provided. To Register, contact: Richard Voytko,
(724) 378-1701 or  richard.voytko@bccdpa.us

Click  HERE  for more information.

May 22 & 23, 2017  
Franklin County Extension Office: 
Designing Multifunctional Riparian Buffers

This workshop will introduce technical service providers to novel approaches in managed riparian forest buffer systems.  This workshop is for technical service providers, including staff from NRCS, FSA, CDs and other federal agencies; state forestry and agriculture agencies; extension; and non-profits. 

Clidk HERE for more information.
Send your event information to info@creppa.org  

Newsletter Submissions:


- Send to info@creppa.org 

- Keep submissions short; no longer than three paragraphs.  

- For longer submissions provide a short introduction and the artiicle in pdf format that will be linked to the newsletter.

- Web pages and images you provide can be linked to your article.  

- Your submission may also be added to the CREP facebook page or website.   


CREP Opens in the Pennsylvania
Delaware River Basin !

Landowners in Pennsylvania's Delaware River Basin
are now eligible to apply for the Conservation
Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are partners in implementing the voluntary CREP program to e
nroll up to 20,000 acres of agricultural land in Pike, Monroe, Northampton, Lehigh, Bucks, Montgomery and Delaware counties.  The goal is to improve surface water quality, groundwater quality and wildlife habitat through establishment of ripar ian buffers, native and other grasses, shallow water areas for wildlife, grassed waterways and the restoration of wetlands. 

The PA Association of Conservation Districts provides
education and outreach materials, resources and support to all CREP partners in PA through the C REP Outreach Program Office (COPO).  Look for a Staff Training Workshop and
Landowner Outreach Workshops to be held in the Summer of 2017.   

Read the Delaware River Basin Fact Sheet or email info@creppa.org for more information.

CREP is Still Open!
There has been some confusion among partners regarding the 24 million acre cap on CRP acres. 

The 2014 Farm Bill requires that beginning in FY 2017, no more 
than 24 million acres can be enrolled in CRP.  Current CRP enrollment is around 23.5 million acres; with 2.5 million acres scheduled to expire on September 30, 2017. 

Recently there was a hold placed on approving new CRP contracts because nationally it is nearing the 24 million acre cap.  However,
CREP is exempt from the "freeze" on new sign-ups FSA can still receive requests for both CRP and CREP, but  for the time being they will only be approving CREP.   CREP is exempt from the "freeze" on new sign ups, however any n ew CREP acres will count toward the 24 million acre cap. 

P lease let your partners know that CREP is, and will remain, open in PA. 

Steps for Success:  Start Planning
for Re-enrollment

Now is a good time to let CREP participants in your counties  with contracts expiring on September 30, 2017 know that it's soon time to start the re-enrollment process. 

Some participants are not able to re-enroll because their CREP plantings do not meet required thresholds.  While it may be too late to make significant improvements to meet the re-enrollment thresholds, there is still time to accomplish less intensive tasks and improvements. 

Contract holders can get r
e-enrollment information, including the thresholds needed to be eligible for re-enrollment, at http://www.creppa.org/get-help/re-enroll/ or by contacting their local FSA or NRCS offices.  

  Update on the CREP Mini-grant       Program for Conservation Districts

The 2016-17 CREP mini-grant program for conservation districts, administered by the PA Association of Conservation Districts, funded 8 projects. So far, projects in Armstrong and Jefferson Counties are complete.  In the next few weeks, the remaining six projects in Allegheny, Beaver, Berks, Chester, Columbia, and Lebanon Counties will wrap-up. 
Projects include walk-abouts, field days, landowner workshops, printing weed guides, riparian buffer workshops, and billboards. These activities focus on new enrollments, re-enrollments, and maintenance of CREP practices.

Look for a summary of outcomes from these projects in the next e-newsletter. Questions about the mini-grant program should be directed to swehinger@pacd.org .
This landowner data sheet, developed by Jefferson County Conservation District, is one of the outcomes of the mini-grants.  This tool allows the district to catalogue weed control and wildlife habitat. The data sheet is available for download here: http://pacd.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/CREP-Data-Colllection-Sheet-1.doc

The CREP Outreach Program Office Mini-grant Program is provided by PA CD through a Gro wing Greener Watershed Protection grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Additional support is provided by
the USDA
Natural Resources Conservation Service.

New Riparian Forest Buffer Team Begins Work at DCNR 
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has hired three new full-time staff members to work exclusively on riparian forestry initiatives within the  Chesapeake Bay watershed. The team is available to assist part
ners and landowners with CREP outreach and technical assistance.  
                     Todd Brajkovich, Teddi Stark and Marah Fielden  
                                 Photo provided by DCNR
Two Riparian Forest Buffer Technicians, Todd Brajkovich and Marah Fielden, will focus their efforts on landowner outreach, forestry technical assistance, and coordination amongst partners in support of the Chesapeake Bay Riparian Buffer Initiative. One Riparian Forest Buffer Coordinator, Teddi Stark, focuses her time on partner coordination and collaboration, grant writing, and assisting with the planning and implementation of the Riparian Buffer Initiative.  

These folks have been contracted through the Western PA Conservancy (WPC) with funding provided by the Farm Service Agency via the US Forest Service.   All began their positions in February of 2017.

Please contact Teddi Stark for additional information at c-tstark@pa.gov, or 717-787-0656.   


Jefferson County Conservation District Holds CREP Workshop

The Jefferson Conservation District held a Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) Workshop on April 4, 2017.  This Meeting, coordinated by Megan Whitla tch , Agricultural Conservation Technician/Nutrient Management Specialist, was held at the Jefferson Conservation Center.
CREP pays farmers and other landowners to conserve and enhance their land. In this workshop, participants learned about the benefits of CREP, riparian forest buffers, how to id entify and control the spread of noxious & invasive weeds on your land, and safe herbicide use.

Photo: Megan Whitlatch shows participants how to identify noxious and invasive plants. Photo provided by the Jefferson County Conservation District 
Stay Connected...
The CREP Outreach Program Office has created a number of ways to share information among CREP partners, landowners already in CREP and people who are learning about the program. 

However, your participation is needed for these resources to be worthwhile.  Please take advantage of them by reading, sharing and contributing content.  Tell others about the resources available by forwarding this newsletter, posting information on your websites, sharing at workshops, etc.   
  1. The CREP PA Website,  www.CREPPA.org  was recently overhauled and given a new modern look, content was updated & added and navigation around the site was improved.  Whether you're just learning about CREP, are already enrolled or a technical partner there is something for you.   
  2. CREP Facebook Page is for CREP partners and participants alike. Share or learn about the CREP program, conservation practices, events and other program information.  Partners can submit information and news they want to share.  Submissions will be posted when received. Click HERE to go to the CREP PA Facebook page.  
  3. Pennsylvania CREP: News and Updates Newsletter is primarily for agencies, organizations and individuals working with CREP.  Stories, techniques, events and other things of interest are shared on a quarterly basis.  
  4. CREP Partner listserve is designed as a vehicle for anyone working with CREP to share ideas, ask questions, disseminate program information, etc.  It's simple to use and any member can post at anytime.  To join send a request with the email address you want added. 
To join the listserve, to submit content or to just make a comment -
send an email to info@creppa.org