Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program
The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is a conservation program administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency, targeted to address water quality, soil erosion, and wildlife habitat concerns in North Carolina. The program involves 76 counties in the state.
The program targets nine of North Carolina's 17 river basins: the Neuse, Tar-Pamlico, Chowan, Lumber, White Oak, Yadkin-PeeDee, Cape Fear (including Jordan Lake), Roanoke, and Pasquotank.
CREP seeks to enroll up to 85,000 acres of riparian and 15,000 acres of non-riparian wetlands within the project basins. The program offers annual rental payments, cost-share payments, and other incentive payments to landowners under 10, 15, or 30 year contracts. Permanent conservation easements are also possible. To qualify, the land must be either 1) cropland that was row cropped 2 of the past 7 years, or 2) is marginal pastureland adjacent to a perennial or seasonal stream that was grazed 2 of the past 7 years. All areas must be suitable for use as a riparian buffer planted to trees.
Eligible CRP practices are:
- Shortleaf pine tree planting
- Hardwood tree planting
- Filter strips
- Riparian buffers
- Wetland restoration
- Bottomland timber establishment