Conservation Security Program, 15277-15283 [05-5895]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 57 / Friday, March 25, 2005 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Agricultural Marketing Service [Docket No. FV05–996–1–Notice] Peanut Standards Board Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA. ACTION: Request for nominations. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 requires the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a Peanut Standards Board (Board) for the purpose of advising the Secretary on quality and handling standards for domestically produced and imported peanuts. The initial Board was appointed by the Secretary and announced on December 5, 2002. USDA seeks nominations for individuals to be considered for selection as Board members for terms of office ending June 30, 2008. Selected nominees sought by this action would replace those six producer and industry representatives who are currently serving for the initial term of office that ends June 30, 2005. The Board consists of 18 members representing producers and industry representatives. DATES: Written nominations must be received on or before April 30, 2005. ADDRESSES: Nominations should be sent to Dawana J. Clark, Marketing Order Administration Branch, Fruit and Vegetable Programs, AMS, USDA, Unit 155, 4700 River Road, Riverdale, MD 20737: Telephone: (301) 734–5243; Fax: (301) 734–5275; E-mail: dawana.clark@usda.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 1308 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (Farm Bill) requires the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a Peanut Standards Board (Board) for the purpose of advising the Secretary regarding the establishment of quality and handling standards for all domestic and imported peanuts marketed in the United States. The Farm Bill requires the Secretary to consult with the Board before the Secretary establishes or changes quality and handling standards for peanuts. The Farm Bill provides that the Board consist of 18 members, with three producers and three industry representatives from the States specified in each of the following producing regions: (a) Southeast (Alabama, Georgia, and Florida); (b) Southwest (Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico); and (c) Virginia/Carolina (Virginia and North Carolina). For the initial appointments, the Farm Bill required the Secretary to stagger the VerDate jul<14>2003 16:11 Mar 24, 2005 Jkt 205001 terms of the members so that: (a) One producer member and peanut industry member from each peanut producing region serves a one-year term; (b) one producer member and peanut industry member from each peanut producing region serves a two-year term; and (c) one producer member and peanut industry member from each peanut producing region serves a three-year term. The term ‘‘peanut industry representatives’’ includes, but is not limited to, representatives of shellers, manufacturers, buying points, marketing associations and marketing cooperatives. The Farm Bill exempted the appointment of the Board from the requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The initial Board was appointed by the Secretary and announced on December 5, 2002. USDA invites those individuals, organizations, and groups affiliated with the categories listed above to nominate individuals for membership on the Board. Nominees sought by this action would replace one producer and one industry member from each peanut producing region who served for the initial term of office that ends June 30, 2005. New members would serve for a 3-year term of office ending June 30, 2008. Nominees should complete a Peanut Standards Board Background Information form and submit it to Mrs. Clark. Copies of this form may be obtained at the Internet site: http:// www.ams.usda.gov/fv/peanutfarmbill.htm, or from Mrs. Clark. USDA seeks a diverse group of members representing the peanut industry. Equal opportunity practices will be followed in all appointments to the Board in accordance with USDA policies. To ensure that the recommendations of the Board have taken into account the needs of the diverse groups within the peanut industry, membership shall include, to the extent practicable, individuals with demonstrated abilities to represent minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and limited resource agriculture producers. Authority: 7 U.S.C. 7958. Dated: March 21, 2005. Kenneth Clayton, Acting Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service. [FR Doc. 05–5900 Filed 3–24–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–02–P PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 15277 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Commodity Credit Corporation Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Security Program Natural Resources Conservation Service and Commodity Credit Corporation, USDA. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: SUMMARY: This document announces the sign-up CSP–05–01 for the Conservation Security Program (CSP). This sign-up will be open from March 28, 2005, through May 27, 2005, in selected 8digit watersheds in all 50 States and the Caribbean. DATES: The administrative actions announced in the notice are effective on March 25, 2005. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Craig Derickson, Branch Chief— Stewardship Programs, Financial Assistance Programs Division, NRCS, P.O. Box 2890, Washington, DC 20013– 2890, telephone: (202) 720–1845; fax: (202) 720–4265. Submit e-mail to: craig.derickson@usda.gov, Attention: Conservation Security Program. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In an Interim Final Rule published concurrent with this notice, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) established the implementing regulations for Conservation Security Program (CSP). The CSP is a voluntary program administered by NRCS using authorities and funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation, that provides financial and technical assistance to producers who advance the conservation and improvement of soil, water, air, energy, plant and animal life, and other conservation purposes on Tribal and private working lands. This document announces the CSP– 05–01 sign-up that will be from March 28, 2005, through May 27, 2005, in selected 8-digit watersheds in all 50 States and the Caribbean, which can be viewed at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/ programs/csp/2005_CSP_WS/ index.html. These watersheds were selected using the process set forth in the May 4, 2004, notice to the Federal Register. In addition to other data sources, this process used National Resources Inventory data to assess land use, agricultural input intensity, and historic conservation stewardship in watersheds nationwide. NRCS State Conservationists recommended a list of potential watersheds after gaining advice from the State Technical Committees. The final selection of FY E:\FR\FM\25MRN1.SGM 25MRN1 15278 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 57 / Friday, March 25, 2005 / Notices 2005 watersheds was announced by the Secretary of Agriculture on November 1, 2004. NRCS has decided to allow limited sign-up in the 2004 sign-up watersheds to bring the total eligible watersheds to 220. The sign-up will only include those producers who do not have an existing CSP contract. To be eligible for CSP, a majority of the agricultural operation must be within the limits of one of the selected watersheds. Applications which meet the minimum requirements as set forth in the interim final rule (listed below) will be placed in enrollment categories for funding consideration. Categories will be funded in order from A through E until funds are exhausted. If funds are not available to fund an entire category, then the applications will fall into subcategories and funded in order until funds are exhausted. Applicants can submit only one application for this sign-up. Participants in an existing CSP contract are not eligible to be an applicant or a participant on more than one contract. Therefore anyone receiving a payment from an existing CSP contract is not eligible to apply for this sign-up or to receive payment in the form of a share from any new contract resulting from this sign-up. Producers should begin the application process by filling out a selfassessment and then to determine if they meet the basic qualification for CSP. Self-assessment workbooks are available in hard copy at USDA Service Centers within the watersheds, and electronically for download or an interactive Web site linked from http: //www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/csp/ 2005_CSP_WS/index.html. The selfassessment workbook includes a benchmark inventory where the applicant documents the conservation practices and activities that are on going on their operation. This benchmark inventory serves as the basis for the stewardship plan. Once the producer determines that they meet the minimum requirements for CSP, as outlined in the workbook, they should make an appointment for an interview to discuss their application with the NRCS local staff. In order to apply, applicants must submit: 1. A completed self-assessment workbook, including the benchmark inventory; 2. Documentation for calendar years 2003 and 2004 to show the stewardship completed including fertilizer, nutrient, and pesticide application schedules, tillage, and grazing schedules if applicable. VerDate jul<14>2003 16:11 Mar 24, 2005 Jkt 205001 3. Completed CCC–1200 available through the self-assessment online guide, Web site, and any USDA Service Center. Applicants are encouraged to attend preliminary workshops, which will be announced locally, the basic qualifications will be explained, and assistance provided to understand the self-assessment workbook and benchmark inventory. CSP is offered at three tiers of participation. Some payments are adjusted based on the tier, and some payments are tier-neutral. See payment information below. lands such as farmstead, feedlots, and headquarters and incidental forestlands, under the control of the participant and constituting a cohesive management unit that is operated with equipment, labor, accounting system, and management that is substantially separate from any other. In delineating the agriculture operation, Farm Service Agency farm boundaries may be used. If farm boundaries are used in the application, the entire farm area must be included within the delineation. An applicant may offer one farm or aggregate farms into one agriculture operation. Minimum Tier Eligibility and Contract Requirements The following are the minimum tier eligibility and contract requirements: CSP Tier I—the benchmark condition inventory demonstrates to the satisfaction of NRCS that the applicant has addressed the nationally significant resource concerns of water quality and soil quality to the minimum level of treatment for any eligible landuse on part of the agricultural operation. Only the acreage meeting such requirements is eligible for stewardship and existing practice payments in CSP. CSP Tier II—the benchmark condition inventory demonstrates to the satisfaction of NRCS that the applicant has addressed the nationally significant resource concerns of water quality and soil quality to the minimum level of treatment for all eligible land uses on the entire agricultural operation. Additionally, the applicant must agree to address another significant resource concern applicable to their watershed to be completed by the end of the contract period. If the applicable resource concern is already addressed or does not pertain to the operation, then this requirement is waived. CSP Tier III—the benchmark condition inventory demonstrates to the satisfaction of NRCS that the applicant has addressed all of the existing resource concerns listed in Section III of the NRCS Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG) with a resource management system that meets the minimum level of treatment for all eligible land uses on the entire agricultural operation. Minimum Eligibility Requirements To be eligible to participate in CSP, the applicants must meet the requirements for eligible applicants, the land offered under contract must meet the definition of eligible land, and the application must meet the conservation standards for that land as described below. Delineation of the Agriculture Operation Delineating an agriculture operation for CSP is an important part in determining the Tier of the contract, stewardship payments, and the required level of conservation treatment needed for participation. The applicant will delineate the agriculture operation to include all agricultural lands, and other PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Eligible Applicants To be eligible to participate, an applicant must: (1) Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions. (2) Meet the Adjusted Gross Income requirements. (3) Show control of the land for the life of the proposed contract period by providing NRCS with either written evidence or assurance of control from the landowner. In the case of land allotted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) or Tribal land, there is considered to be sufficient assurance of control. (4) Share in risk of producing any crop or livestock and be entitled to share in the crop or livestock available for marketing from the agriculture operation. Landlords and owners are ineligible to submit an application for exclusively cash rented agriculture operations. (5) Complete a benchmark condition inventory for the entire agricultural operation or the portion being enrolled in accordance with § 1469.7(a) in the Interim Final Rule; (6) Supply information, as required by NRCS, to determine eligibility for the program; including but not limited to, information related to eligibility criteria in this sign-up announcement; and information to verify the applicant’s status as a beginning or limited resource farmer or rancher if applicable. Eligible Land To be eligible for enrollment in CSP, land must be: (1) Private agricultural land; E:\FR\FM\25MRN1.SGM 25MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 57 / Friday, March 25, 2005 / Notices (2) Private non-industrial forested land that is an incidental part of the agriculture operation (limited to up to ten percent of the contract acres); (3) Agricultural land that is Tribal, allotted, or Indian trust land; (4) Other incidental parcels (limited to up to ten percent of the contract acres), as determined by NRCS, which may include, but are not limited to, land within the bounds of working agricultural land or small adjacent areas (such as center pivot corners, linear practices, field borders, turn rows, intermingled small wet areas or riparian areas); or (5) Other land on which NRCS determines that conservation treatment will contribute to an improvement in an identified natural resource concern, including areas outside the boundary of the agricultural land or enrolled parcel such as farmsteads, ranch sites, barnyards, feedlots, equipment storage areas, material handling facilities, and other such developed areas (limited to up to ten percent of the contract acres). Other land must be treated in Tier III contracts. Land Not Eligible for Enrollment in CSP The following lands are ineligible for enrollment in CSP: (1) Land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, the Wetlands Reserve Program, or the Grassland Reserve Program; and (2) Public land including land owned by a Federal, State, or local unit of government. Land referred to above may not receive CSP payments, but the conservation work on this land may be used to determine if an applicant meets eligibility criteria for the agricultural operation and may be described in the Conservation Stewardship Plan. Land Not Eligible for Any Payment Component in CSP Land that is used for crop production after May 13, 2002, that had not been planted, considered to be planted, or devoted to crop production, as determined by NRCS, for at least 4 of the 6 years preceding May 13, 2002, is not eligible for any payment component in CSP. Conservation Standards for Tier I and Tier II The following conservation standards apply for Tier I and Tier II: 1. The minimum level of treatment on cropland; i. The minimum level of treatment for soil quality on cropland is considered achieved when the Soil Conditioning Index is positive; and VerDate jul<14>2003 16:11 Mar 24, 2005 Jkt 205001 ii. The minimum level of treatment for water quality on cropland is considered achieved if the benchmark inventory indicates that the current level of treatment addresses the risks that nutrients, pesticides, sediment, and salinity present to water quality by meeting or exceeding the quality criteria for the specific resource concerns of nutrients, pesticides, sediment and salinity for surface water and nutrients, pesticides and salinity for ground water, if applicable. 2. The minimum level of treatment on pastureland and rangelands for Tier I and Tier II is vegetation and animal management, which enhances the soil resource by following a grazing management plan that provides for: a forage-animal balance, proper livestock distribution, timing of use, and managing livestock access to water courses. Conservation Standards for Tier III The minimum level of treatment for Tier III on any eligible landuse is: 1. Assuring all that riparian corridors, including streams and natural drainages, within the agricultural operation are buffered to restore, protect, or enhance riparian resources. Riparian corridors, as appropriate, will be managed or designed to intercept sediment, nutrients, pesticides, and other materials in surface runoff; reduce nutrients and other pollutants in shallow subsurface water flow; lower water temperature; and provide litter fall or structural components for habitat complexity or to slow out-of-bank floods; and 2. Meeting the quality criteria for the local NRCS FOTG for all existing resource concerns with these exceptions: (A) The minimum requirement for soil quality on cropland is considered achieved when the Soil Conditioning Index value is positive; (B) The minimum requirement for water quantity—irrigation water management on cropland or pastureland is considered achieved when the current level of treatment and management for the system results in a water use index value of at least 50; and (C) The minimum requirement for wildlife is considered achieved when the current level of treatment and management for the system results in an index value of at least 0.5 of the habitat potential using a general or species specific habitat assessment guide. CSP Contract Payments and Limits CSP contract payments include one or more of the following components subject to the described limits: PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 15279 • An annual per acre stewardship component for the benchmark conservation treatment. This component is calculated separately for each land use by multiplying the number of acres times the tier factor (0.05 for Tier I, 0.10 for Tier II, and 0.15 for Tier III) times the stewardship payment rate established for the watershed times the tier reduction factor (0.25 for Tier I and 0.50 for Tier II, and 0.75 for Tier III). • An annual existing practice component for maintaining existing conservation practices. Existing practice payments will be calculated as a flat rate of 25 percent of the stewardship payment. • A new practice component for additional practices on the watershed specific list. New practice payments for limited resource farmers and beginning farmers will be made at not more than 65 percent cost-share rate. New practice payments for all other contracts will be made at not more than a 50 percent costshare rate. All new practice payments are limited to a $10,000 cumulative total for the contract. • An annual enhancement component for exceptional conservation effort and additional conservation practices or activities that provide increased resource benefits beyond the required conservation standard noted above. This payment will be calculated at a variable payment rate for enhancement activities that are part of the benchmark inventory. The annual enhancement payment for the first contract year for the enhancements documented in the benchmark inventory will be calculated at a rate initiating at 150 percent for the 2005 contract year and then at a declining rate for the remainder of the contract of 90 percent for 2006, 70 percent for 2007, 50 percent for 2008, 30 percent for 2009, 10 percent for 2010 and zero after 2010. This is intended to provide contract capacity to add additional enhancements in the out-years and to encourage participants to make continuous improvements to their operation. In order to maintain the same level of payment over the life of the contract, the participant may add additional enhancement activities of their choice in later years. The additional enhancements will be paid at a flat rate of 100 percent. The total of all enhancement payments in any one year will not exceed $13,750 for Tier I, $21,875 for Tier II, and $28,125 for Tier III annually. The NRCS Chief may allow for special enhancements for producerbased studies and assessments on a case-by-case watershed basis. • An advance enhancement payment is available in the FY 2005 sign-up. The E:\FR\FM\25MRN1.SGM 25MRN1 15280 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 57 / Friday, March 25, 2005 / Notices advance enhancement payment is available to contracts with an initial enhancement payment as determined in the benchmark inventory and interview. The advance enhancement payment would shift a portion of that annual enhancement payment amount into the first-year payment and deduct it from the following years’ payments. Tier I contracts are for a five-year duration. Tier II and Tier III contracts are for a five- to 10-year duration at the option of the participant. Participants who move from Tier I to Tier II or III may increase their contract length to up to ten years from the original contract date. Total annual maximum contract payment limits are $20,000 for Tier I, $35,000 for Tier II, and $45,000 for Tier III, including any advance enhancement payment. The payment components are tailored for the selected watersheds. For more details, call or visit the local USDA Service Center, or view on the Web at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/ csp/2005_CSP_WS/index.html. Enhancement Components Available in This Sign-up The following are the enhancement components available this sign-up: 1. Additional conservation treatment above the quality criteria for soil quality, nutrient management, pest management, irrigation water management, grazing, air and energy management; and 2. Addressing locally identified conservation needs shown on the watershed specific enhancement lists. The payment components are tailored for the selected watersheds. For more details, call or visit the local USDA Service Center, or view on the Web at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/ csp/2005_CSP_WS/index.html. The Administration budget projects that between 12,000 and 13,000 contracts will be available under this sign-up, with roughly 45 percent of those in Tier I, 45 percent in Tier II, and 10 percent in Tier III. CSP Enrollment Categories and Subcategories Technical adjustments to the enrollment categories were made based on field testing of the criteria published in a previous notice. This notice provides updated enrollment category criteria. The CSP will fund the enrollment categories A through E in alphabetical order (Attachment #1). If an enrollment category cannot be completely funded, then subcategories will be funded in the following order: 1. Applicant is a limited resource producer; 2. Applicant is a participant in an ongoing monitoring program; 3. Agricultural operation in a designated water conservation area or aquifer zone; 4. Agricultural operation in a designated drought area; 5. Agricultural operation in a designated water quality area, such as designated watersheds with Total Maximum Daily Loading (TMDL) limits with a priority on pesticides; 6. Agricultural operation in a designated water quality area, such as designated watersheds with TMDL limits with a priority on nutrients; 7. Agricultural operation in a designated water quality area, such as designated watersheds with TMDL limits with a priority on sediment; 8. Agricultural operation in a designated non-attainment area for air quality or other local or regionally designated air quality zones; 9. Agricultural operation in a designated area for threatened and endangered species habitat creation and protection; 10. Participating in an ongoing watersheds plan or conservation project; 11. Agricultural operation is intermingled with public land where there is no way to distinguish the public from the private land for management purposes; and 12. Other applications. Designated means ‘‘officially assigned a priority by a Federal, State, or local unit of government’’ prior to this notice. If a subcategory cannot be fully funded, applicants will be offered the FY 2005 CSP contract payment on a prorated basis. Signed in Washington, DC, on March 18, 2005. Bruce I. Knight, Vice President, Commodity Credit Corporation, Chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2005 CSP Enrollment Categories— Criteria by Land Use and Category CROPLAND [Row crops, closely grown crops, hay or pasture in rotation with row or closely grown crops, orchards, vineyards, horticultural crops, and permanent hayland] Criteria Category Soil conditioning index Stewardship practices and activities (from list below) in place for at least two years A ........................ SCI of ≥ 0.30 or STIR rating of ≤ 15 ...... B ........................ SCI of ≥ 0.20 or STIR rating of ≤ 30 ...... C ........................ SCI of ≥ 0.10 or STIR rating of ≤ 60 ...... D ........................ E ........................ SCI of ≥ 0.10 or STIR rating of ≤ 100 .... .................................................................. At least 2 unique practices activities from each area of Soil Quality, Water Quality, and Wildlife Habitat. At least 1 unique practice or activities from each area of Soil Quality, Water Quality, and Wildlife Habitat, and one additional practice from any of the areas. At least 1 unique practice or activity from each area of Soil Quality, Water Quality and Wildlife Habitat. At least 2 unique practices or activities from any of the areas. *Must meet minimum program eligibility requirements as defined in 7 CFR 1469. PASTURE Criteria Category Pasture condition score A ........................ VerDate jul<14>2003 Stewardship practices and activities (from list below) in place for at least two years At least 45 ............................................... At least 2 unique practices or activities from each area of Soil Quality, Water Quality, and 1 Wildlife Habitat. 16:11 Mar 24, 2005 Jkt 205001 PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\25MRN1.SGM 25MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 57 / Friday, March 25, 2005 / Notices 15281 PASTURE—Continued Criteria Category Pasture condition score Stewardship practices and activities (from list below) in place for at least two years B ........................ At least 40 ............................................... C ........................ At least 35 ............................................... D ........................ E ........................ At least 35 ............................................... .................................................................. At least 1 unique practice or activities from each area of Soil Quality, Water Quality, and Wildlife Habitat, and one additional practice from any of the areas. At least 1 unique practice or activity from each area of Soil Quality, Water Quality and Wildlife Habitat. At least 2 unique practices or activities from any of the areas. *Must meet minimum program eligibility requirements as defined in 7 CFR 1469. RANGE Criteria Category Rangeland health Stewardship practices and activities (from list below) in place for at least two years A ........................ None to slight for all 3 attributes ............. B ........................ None to slight for 2 attributes and slight to moderate for 1 attribute. None to slight for 1 attribute and slight to moderate for 2 attributes. Slight to moderate or higher for 2 attributes and slight to moderate or moderate to extreme for 1 attribute. .................................................................. Prescribed Grazing plus at least 1 unique practice or activity from each area of Soil Quality, Water Quality and Wildlife Habitat. Prescribed Grazing plus at least 1 unique practice or activity from any 2 of the following areas of Soil Quality, Water Quality and Wildlife Habitat. Prescribed Grazing plus at least 1 unique practice or activity from any 2 of the following areas of Soil Quality, Water Quality and Wildlife Habitat. Prescribed Grazing plus at least 1 unique practice or activity from each of the following areas of Soil Quality, Water Quality and Wildlife Habitat. C ........................ D ........................ E ........................ 2005 CSP Enrollment Categories— Criteria by Land Use and Category Cropland Soil Quality—Stewardship Practice and Activity List for Soil Quality • Conservation crop rotation expanded with increased amount of sod or perennial crops in rotation for a minimum of 2 years; or a high biomass crop every other year, or annual cover crop, or a combination of crops that match soil water storage with crop water use needs. • Residue management system with no-till or strip tillage systems to maintain plant residues on the soil surface year-round. • Contour orchards and other fruit areas with cultural operations for vineyards, or minor crops performed on the contour. • Cover crops of grasses, legumes, forbs, or other herbaceous plants established for seasonal cover, or with chipping residue in orchards, vineyards, or minor crops systems. • Nutrient management with soil test and/or plant tissue test on annual basis to meet crop needs. • Crop management with use of certified crop consultants to monitor need for herbicide and pesticide applications. • Soil salinity management on irrigated cropland with soil amendments such as polyacrylamide (PAM) or gypsum. VerDate jul<14>2003 16:11 Mar 24, 2005 Jkt 205001 *Must meet minimum program eligibility requirements as defined in 7 CFR 1469. • Contour buffer strips with permanent, herbaceous vegetative cover established across the slope and alternated down the slope with parallel, wider cropped strips. • Filter strip of herbaceous vegetation situated between cropland, grazing land, or forestland and environmentally sensitive areas. • Field borders with a strip of permanent vegetation established at the edge or around the perimeter of a field. • Grassed waterway that is shaped or graded to required dimensions and established with suitable vegetation. • Alley cropping with trees or shrubs planted in single or multiple rows with agronomic, horticultural crops or forages produced between rows of woody plants. • Stripcropping with row crops, forages, small grains, or fallow in alternating across a field. • Riparian forest buffer of trees and/ or shrubs located adjacent to and upgradient from watercourses or water bodies. • Riparian herbaceous cover consisting of grasses, grass-like plants and forbs. • Windbreak and shelterbelt establishment of single or multiple rows of trees or shrubs. • Hedgerow planting with the establishment of dense vegetation. • Herbaceous wind barriers with vegetation established in rows or narrow PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 strips across the prevailing wind direction. • Cross wind trap strips with herbaceous cover resistant to wind erosion. • Pasture and hayland plantings for establishing native or introduced forage species. • Forage harvest management for improved ground cover, protection from soil erosion and to improve soil characteristics. 2005 CSP Enrollment Categories— Criteria by Land Use and Category Cropland Water Quality—Stewardship Practice and Activity List for Water Quality Cropland WQ—Permanent Vegetation Practices and Activities • Cover crops of grasses, legumes, forbs, or other herbaceous plants established for seasonal cover. • Contour buffer strips with permanent, herbaceous vegetative cover established across the slope and alternated down the slope with parallel, wider cropped strips. • Water control structures to catch, manage and properly use water applications. • Critical area planting that establishes permanent vegetation on sites with high erosion rates, and physical, chemical or biological conditions that prevent the E:\FR\FM\25MRN1.SGM 25MRN1 15282 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 57 / Friday, March 25, 2005 / Notices establishment of vegetation with normal practices. • Field borders with a strip of permanent vegetation established at the edge or around the perimeter of a field. • Filter strip with herbaceous vegetation between cropland, grazing land, or forestland and environmentally sensitive areas. • Hedgerow planting of dense vegetation in a linear design. • Pasture and hayland planting to provide increased sod or perennial crops in rotation for a minimum of 2 years. • Riparian forest buffer of trees and/ or shrubs located adjacent to and upgradient from watercourses or water bodies. • Riparian herbaceous cover consisting of grasses, grass-like plants and forbs. • Grassed waterway that is shaped or graded to required dimensions and established with suitable vegetation. Cropland WQ—Water Management Practices and Activities • Sediment basins to collect and store debris or sediment. • Soil salinity management on irrigated cropland with soil amendments such as polyacrylamide (PAM) or gypsum. • Water and sediment control basins to trap sediment and detain water. • Wetland enhancement to increase function and values. • Wetland restoration and rehabilitation of a drained or degraded wetland to restore natural condition. • Irrigation system with microirrigation for distribution of water directly to the plant root zone. • Irrigation system with MESA, LIPC, LEPA or similar high efficiency irrigation system to supply crop needs that matches water application to crops, soils and topography. • Irrigation water management by determining and controlling the volume, frequency, and application rate of irrigation water, and —Improved system efficiency by evaluations and adjustment; —Use of data from on-farm weather station; and —Use of tensiometers or other techniques to assess and improve irrigation water management. • Crop rotation and selection to minimize the use of irrigation by planting alternative crops with reduced water needs. • Drainage water management through seasonal on-farm water storage and retention. • Irrigation with a tailwater return system which utilizes the collection, VerDate jul<14>2003 16:11 Mar 24, 2005 Jkt 205001 storage, and transportation of irrigation tailwater for reuse. Cropland WQ—Pest Management Practices and Activities • Pest management activities, including: —Spot spraying activities and other control of noxious/invasive weeds. —Minimize pesticide use by selecting plant varieties to minimize the application of pesticides. —Use a risk assessment tool such as WINPST to select the least toxic pesticides and herbicides to minimize harmful environmental effects. —Use local guidelines to set economic thresholds for pests to minimize use of pesticides and herbicides. —Use beneficial insects. Cropland WQ—Nutrient Management Practices and Activities • Nutrient management activities, including: —Precise nutrient application of such as—banding, side dressing, injection, fertigation. —Split nitrogen application to meet crop needs. —Test soil and/or plant tissue annually. —Use yield monitoring data to determine nutrient needs. —Waste utilization to control pathogen and organic runoff. —Feed management and additives. 2005 CSP Enrollment Categories— Criteria by Land Use and Category Cropland Wildlife Habitat— Stewardship Practice and Activity List for Wildlife Habitat (Activities to improve fish and wildlife habitat) • Conservation crop rotation with increased amount of sod or perennial crops in rotation for a minimum of 2 years. • Cover crops of grasses, legumes, forbs, or other herbaceous plants established for seasonal cover. • Critical area planting that establishes permanent vegetation on sites with high erosion rates, and other conditions that prevent the establishment of vegetation with normal practices. • Pest management by: —Spot spraying activities and other control of noxious/invasive weeds. —Minimize pesticide use by selecting plant varieties to minimize the application of pesticides. —Use a risk assessment tool such as WINPST or others to select the least toxic pesticides and herbicides to minimize harmful environmental effects. —Use of beneficial insects. PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 • Pasture and hay plantings by establishing native or introduced forage species. • Forage harvest management with timely cutting and removal of forages from the field as hay, green-chop or ensilage, or by mowing crops from center of field outward • Wildlife habitat management in approved management plan or Private Lands Agreement that meets the needs for food, cover or water for targeted species. • Wetland restoration and rehabilitation of a drained or degraded wetland to restore wetland functions and values. • Wetland enhancement to increase function and values. • Drainage water management with control of water surface elevations and discharge from surface and subsurface drainage systems. • Shallow water development to provide open water on fields and moist soil areas to facilitate waterfowl resting and feeding and provide habitat for reptiles, amphibians and other aquatic species. • Stream habitat management activities to maintain, improve, or restore physical, chemical and biological functions of a stream. • Wildlife habitat management by winter flooding of cropland fields for species in need of conservation. • Windbreak and shelterbelt establishment of single or multiple rows of trees or shrubs. • Hedgerow planting of dense heterogeneous vegetation in a linear design. • Field borders with permanent vegetation at the edge or around the perimeter of a field for wildlife. • Riparian forest buffer of trees and/ or shrubs located adjacent to and upgradient from watercourses or water bodies. • Riparian herbaceous cover consisting of grasses, grass-like plants and forbs. • Drainage water management through seasonal on-farm water storage and retention. 2005 CSP Enrollment Categories— Criteria by Land Use and Category Grazing Lands: Stewardship Practice and Activity List for Plant Health and Soil Quality (Activities To Improve Soil Quality or the Health of the Plant Community) • Brush management for removal, reduction or manipulation of nonherbaceous plants. • Pasture and hay plantings by establishing permanent vegetative cover. E:\FR\FM\25MRN1.SGM 25MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 57 / Friday, March 25, 2005 / Notices • Range planting to establish adapted perennial vegetation. • Prescribed burning by applying controlled fire to a predetermined area. • Grassed waterway that is shaped or graded to required dimensions and established with suitable vegetation. • Grazing land mechanical treatment modifying physical soil and/or plant conditions. • Channel bank stabilization by establishing and maintaining vegetation. • Soil salinity management on nonirrigated grazing lands. • Prescribed grazing management including: —Bottomland or riparian area treated as a separate grazing treatment unit and alternative watering facilities in place. —Grazing distribution facilitated by managing watering locations and rotating feeding and salting areas. —Use of decision support tools in development of grazing and/or animal management plans, such as Grazing Lands Spatial Analysis Tool (GSAT), Nutritional Balance Analyzer (NUTBAL), etc. —Participating in grass-banking or stockpiling. —Application of monitoring plan for improved grazing management. • Riparian herbaceous cover improvements with cover consisting of grasses, grass-like plants and forbs. • Nutrient management with soil and/or plant tissue test every 3 years on pastures not receiving confinement wastes or annual tests where confinement wastes are applied. • Irrigation water management properly determining and controlling the volume, frequency, and application rate of irrigation water in a planned, efficient manner. • Heavy use area protection and stabilization by establishing vegetative cover, surfacing with suitable materials, and/or installing needed structures. 2005 CSP Enrollment Categories— Criteria by Land Use and Category Grazing Lands: Stewardship Practice and Activity List for Water Quality • Prescribed grazing management by use of decision support tools in development of grazing and/or animal management plans, such as Grazing Lands Spatial Analysis Tool (GSAT), Nutritional Balance Analyzer (NUTBAL), etc., or application of monitoring plan. • Brush management for removal, reduction or manipulation of nonherbaceous plants. • Water well constructed to access aquifers. • Watering facility for providing animal access to water. VerDate jul<14>2003 16:11 Mar 24, 2005 Jkt 205001 • Critical area planting that establishes permanent vegetation on sites with high erosion rates, and physical, chemical or biological conditions that prevent the establishment of vegetation with normal practices. • Fence (sensitive area protection only) to control movement of animals and people. • Spring development that provides water for a conservation need. • Pipeline installed to convey water for livestock, wildlife, or recreation. • Nutrient management by: —Soil and/or plant tissue test every 3 years on pastures not receiving confinement wastes or annual tests where confinement wastes are applied. —Direct injection of animal wastes. —Split nitrogen applications to meet current crop needs. • Integrated pest management to control weeds, brush, insects, or diseases. • Stream crossing constructed to provide a travel way for people, livestock, equipment, or vehicles. • Stream habitat management activities to maintain, improve, or restore physical, chemical and biological functions of a stream. • Streambank and shoreline protection treatments to stabilize and protect banks of streams, constructed channels, shorelines of lakes, reservoirs, or estuaries. • Water and sediment control basins to trap sediment and detain water. • Livestock watering areas have controlled access. • Riparian herbaceous cover improvements with additions of grasses, grass-like plants and forbs. • Wetland enhancement to increase function and values. • Wetland restoration and rehabilitation of a drained or degraded wetland to restore natural condition. • Waste utilization to control pathogen and organic runoff. CSP Enrollment Categories—Criteria by Resource Concern Grazing Lands: Stewardship Practice and Activity List for Wildlife Habitat (Activities To Improve Fish and Wildlife Habitat) • Channel bank stabilization by establishing and maintaining vegetation. • Critical area planting that establishes permanent vegetation on sites with high erosion rates, physical, chemical or biological conditions that prevent the establishment of vegetation with normal practices. • Heavy use area protection and stabilization by establishing vegetative PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 15283 cover, surfacing with suitable materials, and/or installing needed structures. • Pasture and hay plantings of native or introduced forage species. • Prescribed burning by applying controlled fire to a predetermined area. • Riparian herbaceous cover improvements with additions of grasses, grass-like plants and forbs. • Spring development that provides water during critical times. • Stream habitat improvement and management activities to maintain, improve, or restore physical, chemical and biological functions of a stream. • Streambank and shoreline protection treatments to stabilize and protect banks of streams, constructed channels, shorelines of lakes, reservoirs, or estuaries. • Water well constructed to access aquifers. • Watering facility for providing animal access to water. • Wetland enhancement to increase function and values. • Wetland restoration and rehabilitation of a drained or degraded wetland to restore functions and values. • Wildlife watering facility that meets the needs of targeted species. • Wildlife habitat management by: —Application of an approved management plan or Private Lands Agreement that meets the needs for food, cover or water for targeted species. —Enhance wildlife habitat linkages and corridors by creating a mosaic or pattern. —Management that provides for shallow water and wetland wildlife habitat improvement. • Prescribed grazing management that: —Adds functional group pastures to improve pasture condition. —Interseeding of desirable forages and legumes —Timed grazing on a portion of paddocks to create habitat for targeted species. —Increased plant diversity—forbs and legumes greater than 40%. —Patch burn/graze to improve wildlife habitat diversity and cover. • Integrated pest management activities for weeds, brush, insects, or diseases that include follow-up treatment. • Brush management for removal, reduction or manipulation of nonherbaceous plants. • Range planting to establishment of adapted perennial vegetation. [FR Doc. 05–5895 Filed 3–24–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–16–P E:\FR\FM\25MRN1.SGM 25MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 57 (Friday, March 25, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 15277-15283]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-5895]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Commodity Credit Corporation

Natural Resources Conservation Service


Conservation Security Program

AGENCY: Natural Resources Conservation Service and Commodity Credit 
Corporation, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This document announces the sign-up CSP-05-01 for the 
Conservation Security Program (CSP). This sign-up will be open from 
March 28, 2005, through May 27, 2005, in selected 8-digit watersheds in 
all 50 States and the Caribbean.

DATES: The administrative actions announced in the notice are effective 
on March 25, 2005.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Craig Derickson, Branch Chief--
Stewardship Programs, Financial Assistance Programs Division, NRCS, 
P.O. Box 2890, Washington, DC 20013-2890, telephone: (202) 720-1845; 
fax: (202) 720-4265. Submit e-mail to: craig.derickson@usda.gov, 
Attention: Conservation Security Program.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In an Interim Final Rule published 
concurrent with this notice, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation 
Service (NRCS) established the implementing regulations for 
Conservation Security Program (CSP). The CSP is a voluntary program 
administered by NRCS using authorities and funds of the Commodity 
Credit Corporation, that provides financial and technical assistance to 
producers who advance the conservation and improvement of soil, water, 
air, energy, plant and animal life, and other conservation purposes on 
Tribal and private working lands.
    This document announces the CSP-05-01 sign-up that will be from 
March 28, 2005, through May 27, 2005, in selected 8-digit watersheds in 
all 50 States and the Caribbean, which can be viewed at http://
www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/csp/2005_CSP_WS/index.html. These 
watersheds were selected using the process set forth in the May 4, 
2004, notice to the Federal Register. In addition to other data 
sources, this process used National Resources Inventory data to assess 
land use, agricultural input intensity, and historic conservation 
stewardship in watersheds nationwide. NRCS State Conservationists 
recommended a list of potential watersheds after gaining advice from 
the State Technical Committees. The final selection of FY

[[Page 15278]]

2005 watersheds was announced by the Secretary of Agriculture on 
November 1, 2004. NRCS has decided to allow limited sign-up in the 2004 
sign-up watersheds to bring the total eligible watersheds to 220. The 
sign-up will only include those producers who do not have an existing 
CSP contract.
    To be eligible for CSP, a majority of the agricultural operation 
must be within the limits of one of the selected watersheds. 
Applications which meet the minimum requirements as set forth in the 
interim final rule (listed below) will be placed in enrollment 
categories for funding consideration. Categories will be funded in 
order from A through E until funds are exhausted. If funds are not 
available to fund an entire category, then the applications will fall 
into subcategories and funded in order until funds are exhausted.
    Applicants can submit only one application for this sign-up. 
Participants in an existing CSP contract are not eligible to be an 
applicant or a participant on more than one contract. Therefore anyone 
receiving a payment from an existing CSP contract is not eligible to 
apply for this sign-up or to receive payment in the form of a share 
from any new contract resulting from this sign-up.
    Producers should begin the application process by filling out a 
self-assessment and then to determine if they meet the basic 
qualification for CSP. Self-assessment workbooks are available in hard 
copy at USDA Service Centers within the watersheds, and electronically 
for download or an interactive Web site linked from http: //
www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/csp/2005_CSP_WS/index.html. The self-
assessment workbook includes a benchmark inventory where the applicant 
documents the conservation practices and activities that are on going 
on their operation. This benchmark inventory serves as the basis for 
the stewardship plan. Once the producer determines that they meet the 
minimum requirements for CSP, as outlined in the workbook, they should 
make an appointment for an interview to discuss their application with 
the NRCS local staff.
    In order to apply, applicants must submit:
    1. A completed self-assessment workbook, including the benchmark 
inventory;
    2. Documentation for calendar years 2003 and 2004 to show the 
stewardship completed including fertilizer, nutrient, and pesticide 
application schedules, tillage, and grazing schedules if applicable.
    3. Completed CCC-1200 available through the self-assessment online 
guide, Web site, and any USDA Service Center.
    Applicants are encouraged to attend preliminary workshops, which 
will be announced locally, the basic qualifications will be explained, 
and assistance provided to understand the self-assessment workbook and 
benchmark inventory.
    CSP is offered at three tiers of participation. Some payments are 
adjusted based on the tier, and some payments are tier-neutral. See 
payment information below.

Minimum Tier Eligibility and Contract Requirements

    The following are the minimum tier eligibility and contract 
requirements:
    CSP Tier I--the benchmark condition inventory demonstrates to the 
satisfaction of NRCS that the applicant has addressed the nationally 
significant resource concerns of water quality and soil quality to the 
minimum level of treatment for any eligible landuse on part of the 
agricultural operation. Only the acreage meeting such requirements is 
eligible for stewardship and existing practice payments in CSP.
    CSP Tier II--the benchmark condition inventory demonstrates to the 
satisfaction of NRCS that the applicant has addressed the nationally 
significant resource concerns of water quality and soil quality to the 
minimum level of treatment for all eligible land uses on the entire 
agricultural operation. Additionally, the applicant must agree to 
address another significant resource concern applicable to their 
watershed to be completed by the end of the contract period. If the 
applicable resource concern is already addressed or does not pertain to 
the operation, then this requirement is waived.
    CSP Tier III--the benchmark condition inventory demonstrates to the 
satisfaction of NRCS that the applicant has addressed all of the 
existing resource concerns listed in Section III of the NRCS Field 
Office Technical Guide (FOTG) with a resource management system that 
meets the minimum level of treatment for all eligible land uses on the 
entire agricultural operation.

Delineation of the Agriculture Operation

    Delineating an agriculture operation for CSP is an important part 
in determining the Tier of the contract, stewardship payments, and the 
required level of conservation treatment needed for participation. The 
applicant will delineate the agriculture operation to include all 
agricultural lands, and other lands such as farmstead, feedlots, and 
headquarters and incidental forestlands, under the control of the 
participant and constituting a cohesive management unit that is 
operated with equipment, labor, accounting system, and management that 
is substantially separate from any other. In delineating the 
agriculture operation, Farm Service Agency farm boundaries may be used. 
If farm boundaries are used in the application, the entire farm area 
must be included within the delineation. An applicant may offer one 
farm or aggregate farms into one agriculture operation.

Minimum Eligibility Requirements

    To be eligible to participate in CSP, the applicants must meet the 
requirements for eligible applicants, the land offered under contract 
must meet the definition of eligible land, and the application must 
meet the conservation standards for that land as described below.

Eligible Applicants

    To be eligible to participate, an applicant must:
    (1) Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland 
conservation provisions.
    (2) Meet the Adjusted Gross Income requirements.
    (3) Show control of the land for the life of the proposed contract 
period by providing NRCS with either written evidence or assurance of 
control from the landowner. In the case of land allotted by the Bureau 
of Indian Affairs (BIA) or Tribal land, there is considered to be 
sufficient assurance of control.
    (4) Share in risk of producing any crop or livestock and be 
entitled to share in the crop or livestock available for marketing from 
the agriculture operation. Landlords and owners are ineligible to 
submit an application for exclusively cash rented agriculture 
operations.
    (5) Complete a benchmark condition inventory for the entire 
agricultural operation or the portion being enrolled in accordance with 
Sec.  1469.7(a) in the Interim Final Rule;
    (6) Supply information, as required by NRCS, to determine 
eligibility for the program; including but not limited to, information 
related to eligibility criteria in this sign-up announcement; and 
information to verify the applicant's status as a beginning or limited 
resource farmer or rancher if applicable.

Eligible Land

    To be eligible for enrollment in CSP, land must be:
    (1) Private agricultural land;

[[Page 15279]]

    (2) Private non-industrial forested land that is an incidental part 
of the agriculture operation (limited to up to ten percent of the 
contract acres);
    (3) Agricultural land that is Tribal, allotted, or Indian trust 
land;
    (4) Other incidental parcels (limited to up to ten percent of the 
contract acres), as determined by NRCS, which may include, but are not 
limited to, land within the bounds of working agricultural land or 
small adjacent areas (such as center pivot corners, linear practices, 
field borders, turn rows, intermingled small wet areas or riparian 
areas); or
    (5) Other land on which NRCS determines that conservation treatment 
will contribute to an improvement in an identified natural resource 
concern, including areas outside the boundary of the agricultural land 
or enrolled parcel such as farmsteads, ranch sites, barnyards, 
feedlots, equipment storage areas, material handling facilities, and 
other such developed areas (limited to up to ten percent of the 
contract acres). Other land must be treated in Tier III contracts.

Land Not Eligible for Enrollment in CSP

    The following lands are ineligible for enrollment in CSP:
    (1) Land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, the Wetlands 
Reserve Program, or the Grassland Reserve Program; and
    (2) Public land including land owned by a Federal, State, or local 
unit of government.
    Land referred to above may not receive CSP payments, but the 
conservation work on this land may be used to determine if an applicant 
meets eligibility criteria for the agricultural operation and may be 
described in the Conservation Stewardship Plan.

Land Not Eligible for Any Payment Component in CSP

    Land that is used for crop production after May 13, 2002, that had 
not been planted, considered to be planted, or devoted to crop 
production, as determined by NRCS, for at least 4 of the 6 years 
preceding May 13, 2002, is not eligible for any payment component in 
CSP.

Conservation Standards for Tier I and Tier II

    The following conservation standards apply for Tier I and Tier II:
    1. The minimum level of treatment on cropland;
    i. The minimum level of treatment for soil quality on cropland is 
considered achieved when the Soil Conditioning Index is positive; and
    ii. The minimum level of treatment for water quality on cropland is 
considered achieved if the benchmark inventory indicates that the 
current level of treatment addresses the risks that nutrients, 
pesticides, sediment, and salinity present to water quality by meeting 
or exceeding the quality criteria for the specific resource concerns of 
nutrients, pesticides, sediment and salinity for surface water and 
nutrients, pesticides and salinity for ground water, if applicable.
    2. The minimum level of treatment on pastureland and rangelands for 
Tier I and Tier II is vegetation and animal management, which enhances 
the soil resource by following a grazing management plan that provides 
for: a forage-animal balance, proper livestock distribution, timing of 
use, and managing livestock access to water courses.

Conservation Standards for Tier III

    The minimum level of treatment for Tier III on any eligible landuse 
is:
    1. Assuring all that riparian corridors, including streams and 
natural drainages, within the agricultural operation are buffered to 
restore, protect, or enhance riparian resources. Riparian corridors, as 
appropriate, will be managed or designed to intercept sediment, 
nutrients, pesticides, and other materials in surface runoff; reduce 
nutrients and other pollutants in shallow subsurface water flow; lower 
water temperature; and provide litter fall or structural components for 
habitat complexity or to slow out-of-bank floods; and
    2. Meeting the quality criteria for the local NRCS FOTG for all 
existing resource concerns with these exceptions:
    (A) The minimum requirement for soil quality on cropland is 
considered achieved when the Soil Conditioning Index value is positive;
    (B) The minimum requirement for water quantity--irrigation water 
management on cropland or pastureland is considered achieved when the 
current level of treatment and management for the system results in a 
water use index value of at least 50; and
    (C) The minimum requirement for wildlife is considered achieved 
when the current level of treatment and management for the system 
results in an index value of at least 0.5 of the habitat potential 
using a general or species specific habitat assessment guide.

CSP Contract Payments and Limits

    CSP contract payments include one or more of the following 
components subject to the described limits:
     An annual per acre stewardship component for the benchmark 
conservation treatment. This component is calculated separately for 
each land use by multiplying the number of acres times the tier factor 
(0.05 for Tier I, 0.10 for Tier II, and 0.15 for Tier III) times the 
stewardship payment rate established for the watershed times the tier 
reduction factor (0.25 for Tier I and 0.50 for Tier II, and 0.75 for 
Tier III).
     An annual existing practice component for maintaining 
existing conservation practices. Existing practice payments will be 
calculated as a flat rate of 25 percent of the stewardship payment.
     A new practice component for additional practices on the 
watershed specific list. New practice payments for limited resource 
farmers and beginning farmers will be made at not more than 65 percent 
cost-share rate. New practice payments for all other contracts will be 
made at not more than a 50 percent cost-share rate. All new practice 
payments are limited to a $10,000 cumulative total for the contract.
     An annual enhancement component for exceptional 
conservation effort and additional conservation practices or activities 
that provide increased resource benefits beyond the required 
conservation standard noted above. This payment will be calculated at a 
variable payment rate for enhancement activities that are part of the 
benchmark inventory. The annual enhancement payment for the first 
contract year for the enhancements documented in the benchmark 
inventory will be calculated at a rate initiating at 150 percent for 
the 2005 contract year and then at a declining rate for the remainder 
of the contract of 90 percent for 2006, 70 percent for 2007, 50 percent 
for 2008, 30 percent for 2009, 10 percent for 2010 and zero after 2010. 
This is intended to provide contract capacity to add additional 
enhancements in the out-years and to encourage participants to make 
continuous improvements to their operation. In order to maintain the 
same level of payment over the life of the contract, the participant 
may add additional enhancement activities of their choice in later 
years. The additional enhancements will be paid at a flat rate of 100 
percent. The total of all enhancement payments in any one year will not 
exceed $13,750 for Tier I, $21,875 for Tier II, and $28,125 for Tier 
III annually. The NRCS Chief may allow for special enhancements for 
producer-based studies and assessments on a case-by-case watershed 
basis.
     An advance enhancement payment is available in the FY 2005 
sign-up. The

[[Page 15280]]

advance enhancement payment is available to contracts with an initial 
enhancement payment as determined in the benchmark inventory and 
interview. The advance enhancement payment would shift a portion of 
that annual enhancement payment amount into the first-year payment and 
deduct it from the following years' payments.
    Tier I contracts are for a five-year duration. Tier II and Tier III 
contracts are for a five- to 10-year duration at the option of the 
participant. Participants who move from Tier I to Tier II or III may 
increase their contract length to up to ten years from the original 
contract date.
    Total annual maximum contract payment limits are $20,000 for Tier 
I, $35,000 for Tier II, and $45,000 for Tier III, including any advance 
enhancement payment.
    The payment components are tailored for the selected watersheds. 
For more details, call or visit the local USDA Service Center, or view 
on the Web at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/csp/2005_CSP_WS/
index.html.

Enhancement Components Available in This Sign-up

    The following are the enhancement components available this sign-
up:
    1. Additional conservation treatment above the quality criteria for 
soil quality, nutrient management, pest management, irrigation water 
management, grazing, air and energy management; and
    2. Addressing locally identified conservation needs shown on the 
watershed specific enhancement lists.
    The payment components are tailored for the selected watersheds. 
For more details, call or visit the local USDA Service Center, or view 
on the Web at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/csp/2005_CSP_WS/
index.html.
    The Administration budget projects that between 12,000 and 13,000 
contracts will be available under this sign-up, with roughly 45 percent 
of those in Tier I, 45 percent in Tier II, and 10 percent in Tier III.

CSP Enrollment Categories and Subcategories

    Technical adjustments to the enrollment categories were made based 
on field testing of the criteria published in a previous notice. This 
notice provides updated enrollment category criteria.
    The CSP will fund the enrollment categories A through E in 
alphabetical order (Attachment 1). If an enrollment category 
cannot be completely funded, then subcategories will be funded in the 
following order:
    1. Applicant is a limited resource producer;
    2. Applicant is a participant in an on-going monitoring program;
    3. Agricultural operation in a designated water conservation area 
or aquifer zone;
    4. Agricultural operation in a designated drought area;
    5. Agricultural operation in a designated water quality area, such 
as designated watersheds with Total Maximum Daily Loading (TMDL) limits 
with a priority on pesticides;
    6. Agricultural operation in a designated water quality area, such 
as designated watersheds with TMDL limits with a priority on nutrients;
    7. Agricultural operation in a designated water quality area, such 
as designated watersheds with TMDL limits with a priority on sediment;
    8. Agricultural operation in a designated non-attainment area for 
air quality or other local or regionally designated air quality zones;
    9. Agricultural operation in a designated area for threatened and 
endangered species habitat creation and protection;
    10. Participating in an ongoing watersheds plan or conservation 
project;
    11. Agricultural operation is intermingled with public land where 
there is no way to distinguish the public from the private land for 
management purposes; and
    12. Other applications.
    Designated means ``officially assigned a priority by a Federal, 
State, or local unit of government'' prior to this notice. If a 
subcategory cannot be fully funded, applicants will be offered the FY 
2005 CSP contract payment on a prorated basis.

    Signed in Washington, DC, on March 18, 2005.
Bruce I. Knight,
Vice President, Commodity Credit Corporation, Chief, Natural Resources 
Conservation Service.

2005 CSP Enrollment Categories--Criteria by Land Use and Category

                                Cropland
 [Row crops, closely grown crops, hay or pasture in rotation with row or
   closely grown crops, orchards, vineyards, horticultural crops, and
                           permanent hayland]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                              Criteria
                          ----------------------------------------------
                                                  Stewardship practices
         Category           Soil conditioning     and activities (from
                                  index         list below) in place for
                                                   at  least two years
------------------------------------------------------------------------
A........................  SCI of >= 0.30 or    At least 2 unique
                            STIR rating of <=    practices activities
                            15.                  from each area of Soil
                                                 Quality, Water Quality,
                                                 and Wildlife Habitat.
B........................  SCI of >= 0.20 or    At least 1 unique
                            STIR rating of <=    practice or activities
                            30.                  from each area of Soil
                                                 Quality, Water Quality,
                                                 and Wildlife Habitat,
                                                 and one additional
                                                 practice from any of
                                                 the areas.
C........................  SCI of >= 0.10 or    At least 1 unique
                            STIR rating of <=    practice or activity
                            60.                  from each area of Soil
                                                 Quality, Water Quality
                                                 and Wildlife Habitat.
D........................  SCI of >= 0.10 or    At least 2 unique
                            STIR rating of <=    practices or activities
                            100.                 from any of the areas.
E........................  ...................  *Must meet minimum
                                                 program eligibility
                                                 requirements as defined
                                                 in 7 CFR 1469.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                 Pasture
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                              Criteria
                          ----------------------------------------------
                                                  Stewardship practices
         Category           Pasture condition     and activities (from
                                  score         list below) in place for
                                                   at  least two years
------------------------------------------------------------------------
A........................  At least 45........  At least 2 unique
                                                 practices or activities
                                                 from each area of Soil
                                                 Quality, Water Quality,
                                                 and 1 Wildlife Habitat.

[[Page 15281]]

 
B........................  At least 40........  At least 1 unique
                                                 practice or activities
                                                 from each area of Soil
                                                 Quality, Water Quality,
                                                 and Wildlife Habitat,
                                                 and one additional
                                                 practice from any of
                                                 the areas.
C........................  At least 35........  At least 1 unique
                                                 practice or activity
                                                 from each area of Soil
                                                 Quality, Water Quality
                                                 and Wildlife Habitat.
D........................  At least 35........  At least 2 unique
                                                 practices or activities
                                                 from any of the areas.
E........................  ...................  *Must meet minimum
                                                 program eligibility
                                                 requirements as defined
                                                 in 7 CFR 1469.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


                                  Range
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                              Criteria
                          ----------------------------------------------
                                                  Stewardship practices
         Category                                 and activities (from
                             Rangeland health   list below) in place for
                                                   at  least two years
------------------------------------------------------------------------
A........................  None to slight for   Prescribed Grazing plus
                            all 3 attributes.    at least 1 unique
                                                 practice or activity
                                                 from each area of Soil
                                                 Quality, Water Quality
                                                 and Wildlife Habitat.
B........................  None to slight for   Prescribed Grazing plus
                            2 attributes and     at least 1 unique
                            slight to moderate   practice or activity
                            for 1 attribute.     from any 2 of the
                                                 following areas of Soil
                                                 Quality, Water Quality
                                                 and Wildlife Habitat.
C........................  None to slight for   Prescribed Grazing plus
                            1 attribute and      at least 1 unique
                            slight to moderate   practice or activity
                            for 2 attributes.    from any 2 of the
                                                 following areas of Soil
                                                 Quality, Water Quality
                                                 and Wildlife Habitat.
D........................  Slight to moderate   Prescribed Grazing plus
                            or higher for 2      at least 1 unique
                            attributes and       practice or activity
                            slight to moderate   from each of the
                            or moderate to       following areas of Soil
                            extreme for 1        Quality, Water Quality
                            attribute.           and Wildlife Habitat.
E........................  ...................  *Must meet minimum
                                                 program eligibility
                                                 requirements as defined
                                                 in 7 CFR 1469.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

2005 CSP Enrollment Categories--Criteria by Land Use and Category

Cropland Soil Quality--Stewardship Practice and Activity List for Soil 
Quality

     Conservation crop rotation expanded with increased amount 
of sod or perennial crops in rotation for a minimum of 2 years; or a 
high biomass crop every other year, or annual cover crop, or a 
combination of crops that match soil water storage with crop water use 
needs.
     Residue management system with no-till or strip tillage 
systems to maintain plant residues on the soil surface year-round.
     Contour orchards and other fruit areas with cultural 
operations for vineyards, or minor crops performed on the contour.
     Cover crops of grasses, legumes, forbs, or other 
herbaceous plants established for seasonal cover, or with chipping 
residue in orchards, vineyards, or minor crops systems.
     Nutrient management with soil test and/or plant tissue 
test on annual basis to meet crop needs.
     Crop management with use of certified crop consultants to 
monitor need for herbicide and pesticide applications.
     Soil salinity management on irrigated cropland with soil 
amendments such as polyacrylamide (PAM) or gypsum.
     Contour buffer strips with permanent, herbaceous 
vegetative cover established across the slope and alternated down the 
slope with parallel, wider cropped strips.
     Filter strip of herbaceous vegetation situated between 
cropland, grazing land, or forestland and environmentally sensitive 
areas.
     Field borders with a strip of permanent vegetation 
established at the edge or around the perimeter of a field.
     Grassed waterway that is shaped or graded to required 
dimensions and established with suitable vegetation.
     Alley cropping with trees or shrubs planted in single or 
multiple rows with agronomic, horticultural crops or forages produced 
between rows of woody plants.
     Stripcropping with row crops, forages, small grains, or 
fallow in alternating across a field.
     Riparian forest buffer of trees and/or shrubs located 
adjacent to and up-gradient from watercourses or water bodies.
     Riparian herbaceous cover consisting of grasses, grass-
like plants and forbs.
     Windbreak and shelterbelt establishment of single or 
multiple rows of trees or shrubs.
     Hedgerow planting with the establishment of dense 
vegetation.
     Herbaceous wind barriers with vegetation established in 
rows or narrow strips across the prevailing wind direction.
     Cross wind trap strips with herbaceous cover resistant to 
wind erosion.
     Pasture and hayland plantings for establishing native or 
introduced forage species.
     Forage harvest management for improved ground cover, 
protection from soil erosion and to improve soil characteristics.

2005 CSP Enrollment Categories--Criteria by Land Use and Category

Cropland Water Quality--Stewardship Practice and Activity List for 
Water Quality

Cropland WQ--Permanent Vegetation Practices and Activities
     Cover crops of grasses, legumes, forbs, or other 
herbaceous plants established for seasonal cover.
     Contour buffer strips with permanent, herbaceous 
vegetative cover established across the slope and alternated down the 
slope with parallel, wider cropped strips.
     Water control structures to catch, manage and properly use 
water applications.
     Critical area planting that establishes permanent 
vegetation on sites with high erosion rates, and physical, chemical or 
biological conditions that prevent the

[[Page 15282]]

establishment of vegetation with normal practices.
     Field borders with a strip of permanent vegetation 
established at the edge or around the perimeter of a field.
     Filter strip with herbaceous vegetation between cropland, 
grazing land, or forestland and environmentally sensitive areas.
     Hedgerow planting of dense vegetation in a linear design.
     Pasture and hayland planting to provide increased sod or 
perennial crops in rotation for a minimum of 2 years.
     Riparian forest buffer of trees and/or shrubs located 
adjacent to and up-gradient from watercourses or water bodies.
     Riparian herbaceous cover consisting of grasses, grass-
like plants and forbs.
     Grassed waterway that is shaped or graded to required 
dimensions and established with suitable vegetation.
Cropland WQ--Water Management Practices and Activities
     Sediment basins to collect and store debris or sediment.
     Soil salinity management on irrigated cropland with soil 
amendments such as polyacrylamide (PAM) or gypsum.
     Water and sediment control basins to trap sediment and 
detain water.
     Wetland enhancement to increase function and values.
     Wetland restoration and rehabilitation of a drained or 
degraded wetland to restore natural condition.
     Irrigation system with micro-irrigation for distribution 
of water directly to the plant root zone.
     Irrigation system with MESA, LIPC, LEPA or similar high 
efficiency irrigation system to supply crop needs that matches water 
application to crops, soils and topography.
     Irrigation water management by determining and controlling 
the volume, frequency, and application rate of irrigation water, and

--Improved system efficiency by evaluations and adjustment;
--Use of data from on-farm weather station; and
--Use of tensiometers or other techniques to assess and improve 
irrigation water management.

     Crop rotation and selection to minimize the use of 
irrigation by planting alternative crops with reduced water needs.
     Drainage water management through seasonal on-farm water 
storage and retention.
     Irrigation with a tailwater return system which utilizes 
the collection, storage, and transportation of irrigation tailwater for 
reuse.
Cropland WQ--Pest Management Practices and Activities
     Pest management activities, including:

--Spot spraying activities and other control of noxious/invasive weeds.
--Minimize pesticide use by selecting plant varieties to minimize the 
application of pesticides.
--Use a risk assessment tool such as WINPST to select the least toxic 
pesticides and herbicides to minimize harmful environmental effects.
--Use local guidelines to set economic thresholds for pests to minimize 
use of pesticides and herbicides.
--Use beneficial insects.
Cropland WQ--Nutrient Management Practices and Activities
     Nutrient management activities, including:

--Precise nutrient application of such as--banding, side dressing, 
injection, fertigation.
--Split nitrogen application to meet crop needs.
--Test soil and/or plant tissue annually.
--Use yield monitoring data to determine nutrient needs.
--Waste utilization to control pathogen and organic runoff.
--Feed management and additives.

2005 CSP Enrollment Categories--Criteria by Land Use and Category

Cropland Wildlife Habitat--Stewardship Practice and Activity List for 
Wildlife Habitat (Activities to improve fish and wildlife habitat)

     Conservation crop rotation with increased amount of sod or 
perennial crops in rotation for a minimum of 2 years.
     Cover crops of grasses, legumes, forbs, or other 
herbaceous plants established for seasonal cover.
     Critical area planting that establishes permanent 
vegetation on sites with high erosion rates, and other conditions that 
prevent the establishment of vegetation with normal practices.
     Pest management by:

--Spot spraying activities and other control of noxious/invasive weeds.
--Minimize pesticide use by selecting plant varieties to minimize the 
application of pesticides.
--Use a risk assessment tool such as WINPST or others to select the 
least toxic pesticides and herbicides to minimize harmful environmental 
effects.
--Use of beneficial insects.
     Pasture and hay plantings by establishing native or 
introduced forage species.
     Forage harvest management with timely cutting and removal 
of forages from the field as hay, green-chop or ensilage, or by mowing 
crops from center of field outward
     Wildlife habitat management in approved management plan or 
Private Lands Agreement that meets the needs for food, cover or water 
for targeted species.
     Wetland restoration and rehabilitation of a drained or 
degraded wetland to restore wetland functions and values.
     Wetland enhancement to increase function and values.
     Drainage water management with control of water surface 
elevations and discharge from surface and subsurface drainage systems.
     Shallow water development to provide open water on fields 
and moist soil areas to facilitate waterfowl resting and feeding and 
provide habitat for reptiles, amphibians and other aquatic species.
     Stream habitat management activities to maintain, improve, 
or restore physical, chemical and biological functions of a stream.
     Wildlife habitat management by winter flooding of cropland 
fields for species in need of conservation.
     Windbreak and shelterbelt establishment of single or 
multiple rows of trees or shrubs.
     Hedgerow planting of dense heterogeneous vegetation in a 
linear design.
     Field borders with permanent vegetation at the edge or 
around the perimeter of a field for wildlife.
     Riparian forest buffer of trees and/or shrubs located 
adjacent to and up-gradient from watercourses or water bodies.
     Riparian herbaceous cover consisting of grasses, grass-
like plants and forbs.
     Drainage water management through seasonal on-farm water 
storage and retention.

2005 CSP Enrollment Categories--Criteria by Land Use and Category

Grazing Lands: Stewardship Practice and Activity List for Plant Health 
and Soil Quality (Activities To Improve Soil Quality or the Health of 
the Plant Community)

     Brush management for removal, reduction or manipulation of 
non-herbaceous plants.
     Pasture and hay plantings by establishing permanent 
vegetative cover.

[[Page 15283]]

     Range planting to establish adapted perennial vegetation.
     Prescribed burning by applying controlled fire to a 
predetermined area.
     Grassed waterway that is shaped or graded to required 
dimensions and established with suitable vegetation.
     Grazing land mechanical treatment modifying physical soil 
and/or plant conditions.
     Channel bank stabilization by establishing and maintaining 
vegetation.
     Soil salinity management on non-irrigated grazing lands.
     Prescribed grazing management including:

--Bottomland or riparian area treated as a separate grazing treatment 
unit and alternative watering facilities in place.
--Grazing distribution facilitated by managing watering locations and 
rotating feeding and salting areas.
--Use of decision support tools in development of grazing and/or animal 
management plans, such as Grazing Lands Spatial Analysis Tool (GSAT), 
Nutritional Balance Analyzer (NUTBAL), etc.
--Participating in grass-banking or stockpiling.
--Application of monitoring plan for improved grazing management.

     Riparian herbaceous cover improvements with cover 
consisting of grasses, grass-like plants and forbs.
     Nutrient management with soil and/or plant tissue test 
every 3 years on pastures not receiving confinement wastes or annual 
tests where confinement wastes are applied.
     Irrigation water management properly determining and 
controlling the volume, frequency, and application rate of irrigation 
water in a planned, efficient manner.
     Heavy use area protection and stabilization by 
establishing vegetative cover, surfacing with suitable materials, and/
or installing needed structures.

2005 CSP Enrollment Categories--Criteria by Land Use and Category

Grazing Lands: Stewardship Practice and Activity List for Water Quality

     Prescribed grazing management by use of decision support 
tools in development of grazing and/or animal management plans, such as 
Grazing Lands Spatial Analysis Tool (GSAT), Nutritional Balance 
Analyzer (NUTBAL), etc., or application of monitoring plan.
     Brush management for removal, reduction or manipulation of 
non-herbaceous plants.
     Water well constructed to access aquifers.
     Watering facility for providing animal access to water.
     Critical area planting that establishes permanent 
vegetation on sites with high erosion rates, and physical, chemical or 
biological conditions that prevent the establishment of vegetation with 
normal practices.
     Fence (sensitive area protection only) to control movement 
of animals and people.
     Spring development that provides water for a conservation 
need.
     Pipeline installed to convey water for livestock, 
wildlife, or recreation.
     Nutrient management by:

--Soil and/or plant tissue test every 3 years on pastures not receiving 
confinement wastes or annual tests where confinement wastes are 
applied.
--Direct injection of animal wastes.
--Split nitrogen applications to meet current crop needs.
     Integrated pest management to control weeds, brush, 
insects, or diseases.
     Stream crossing constructed to provide a travel way for 
people, livestock, equipment, or vehicles.
     Stream habitat management activities to maintain, improve, 
or restore physical, chemical and biological functions of a stream.
     Streambank and shoreline protection treatments to 
stabilize and protect banks of streams, constructed channels, 
shorelines of lakes, reservoirs, or estuaries.
     Water and sediment control basins to trap sediment and 
detain water.
     Livestock watering areas have controlled access.
     Riparian herbaceous cover improvements with additions of 
grasses, grass-like plants and forbs.
     Wetland enhancement to increase function and values.
     Wetland restoration and rehabilitation of a drained or 
degraded wetland to restore natural condition.
     Waste utilization to control pathogen and organic runoff.

CSP Enrollment Categories--Criteria by Resource Concern

Grazing Lands: Stewardship Practice and Activity List for Wildlife 
Habitat (Activities To Improve Fish and Wildlife Habitat)

     Channel bank stabilization by establishing and maintaining 
vegetation.
     Critical area planting that establishes permanent 
vegetation on sites with high erosion rates, physical, chemical or 
biological conditions that prevent the establishment of vegetation with 
normal practices.
     Heavy use area protection and stabilization by 
establishing vegetative cover, surfacing with suitable materials, and/
or installing needed structures.
     Pasture and hay plantings of native or introduced forage 
species.
     Prescribed burning by applying controlled fire to a 
predetermined area.
     Riparian herbaceous cover improvements with additions of 
grasses, grass-like plants and forbs.
     Spring development that provides water during critical 
times.
     Stream habitat improvement and management activities to 
maintain, improve, or restore physical, chemical and biological 
functions of a stream.
     Streambank and shoreline protection treatments to 
stabilize and protect banks of streams, constructed channels, 
shorelines of lakes, reservoirs, or estuaries.
     Water well constructed to access aquifers.
     Watering facility for providing animal access to water.
     Wetland enhancement to increase function and values.
     Wetland restoration and rehabilitation of a drained or 
degraded wetland to restore functions and values.
     Wildlife watering facility that meets the needs of 
targeted species.
     Wildlife habitat management by:

--Application of an approved management plan or Private Lands Agreement 
that meets the needs for food, cover or water for targeted species.
--Enhance wildlife habitat linkages and corridors by creating a mosaic 
or pattern.
--Management that provides for shallow water and wetland wildlife 
habitat improvement.

     Prescribed grazing management that:

--Adds functional group pastures to improve pasture condition.
--Interseeding of desirable forages and legumes
--Timed grazing on a portion of paddocks to create habitat for targeted 
species.
--Increased plant diversity--forbs and legumes greater than 40%.
--Patch burn/graze to improve wildlife habitat diversity and cover.

     Integrated pest management activities for weeds, brush, 
insects, or diseases that include follow-up treatment.
     Brush management for removal, reduction or manipulation of 
non-herbaceous plants.
     Range planting to establishment of adapted perennial 
vegetation.

[FR Doc. 05-5895 Filed 3-24-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-16-P