The Cowley County Conservation District is conducting its annual cost-share sign-up March 1 through April 15 to accept requests for state financial assistance to install enduring conservation practices.

The first ranking period ends April 15.

The conservation district administers state cost-share programs locally to improve water quality and reduce soil erosion. Funding is provided by the Division of Conservation, formerly the Soil Conservation Commission, through appropriation from the Kansas Water Plan Fund.

Landowners with natural resource concerns on their property are encouraged to contact the Cowley County Conservation District to discuss the possibility of receiving state financial assistance. Funding is provided through cost-share payments to landowners for eligible practices such as terraces, grassed waterways, grass plantings, livestock water supplies and ponds. The sign-up does not guarantee approval of cost-share financial assistance. Projects started or completed prior to being approved for funding are not eligible for these funds.

Following the sign-up deadline each request is carefully reviewed to ensure eligibility. The proposed project is ranked according to a system developed by the Cowley County Conservation District. The ranking system ensures fairness to landowners and ensures cost-share funds are used to meet local conservation priorities. Landowners approved for the program are notified of the practice(s) approved and the estimated amount of cost-share that will be provided. The contract has to be approved by the SCC and must be signed by the landowner(s) before the work can begin.

The conservation district works closely with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to protect and conserve natural resources, primarily soil and water. Conservation practices funded with state cost-share funds must be installed and maintained according to NRCS and SCC specifications. It is necessary that landowners work closely with NRCS in the planning stage to ensure practices are applied correctly.

Technical assistance for the practices are provided free of charge by the USDA.

For more information concerning state cost-programs and other available services, contact Amanda Scott, District Manager, Cowley County Conservation District, at (620) 402-3107.

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