Minnesota River Basin Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program CREP

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)

This initiative is the largest long-term private lands conservation effort to improve water quality and restore wildlife habitat in the Minnesota River and its tributaries. I’m extremely proud of all of the efforts put forth by people involved in this ambitious project.”
— Ron Harnack, Executive Director, Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources

In 1998, the largest, private-lands conservation effort in the state began on the Minnesota River. The purpose was to improve the river’s water quality and restore wildlife habitat. In just four years, more than 100,000 acres were secured into permanent conservation easements through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) (see CREP map).

The Minnesota River CREP combines the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) with the state’s Reinvest in Minnesota Reserve Program (RIM) to set aside environmentally sensitive land in the 37-county Minnesota River Basin. Targeted acres included frequently flooded cropland in the Minnesota River Valley and its principal tributaries, riparian buffers along cropland identified as major pollution sources, and wetlands that could be restored to provide water quality and wildlife benefits. In addition, CREP improved the producers’ bottom lines by paying competitive rates for marginal cropland. CREP officially ended in the Minnesota River Basin in September 2002.

CREP helps farmers by providing an economically competitive option for removing land from production and voluntarily enrolling land into a conservation easement. Farmers receive an up-front "bonus" payment from RIM, plus 15 years of guaranteed annual payments from the federal CRP program. Actual payment rates are based on the USDA soil rental rate for the land.

Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) administers the program at the state level. Soil and Water Conservation Districts implement the program locally. Federal partners are the Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Other state agencies and conservation groups have also participated in the program.

For more information, visit the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources website:
CREP Factsheet - http://www.bwsr.state.mn.us/easements/crep/factsheet.html
CREP Easement Summary - http://www.bwsr.state.mn.us/easements/crep/easementsummary.html



This page was last updated 1/05