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A Voluntary Program with Benefits for Landowners and the Environment

CREP pays landowners to establish buffers of native trees and shrubs along fish bearing streams and rivers. While the main objective of the program is to restore and protect critical fish habitat, other benefits are achieved. Riparian buffers provide habitat and travel corridors for a wide range of wildlife. Buffers of native vegetation help protect water quality, stabilize stream banks, reduce erosion, create shade that lowers water temperature, and provide attractive borders for privacy and protection.

The program pays all the expenses to establish the buffer, in addition to annual rental payments and other benefits to the landowner.
CREP pays to remove invasive plants such as reed canarygrass and Himalayan blackberry. Reed canarygrass and Himalayan blackberry do not provide beneficial riparian functions, and their rapid growth often replaces the native plants that comprise a healthy riparian zone. The program will also pay to fence livestock out of the buffer and for off-channel livestock watering alternatives.

Buffer design is flexible.
Resource specialists work with each landowner to develop a project plan that meets their objectives. The width of the buffer next to the stream or river may vary from 50 to 180 feet.  CREP also plants hedgerows.Landowners may elect to enroll only a portion of their stream or river frontage or only one side.

CREP is a partnership between the State and Federal Governments.
The program is administered by USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). Whatcom Conservation District, under Washington State funding, provides the technical support and project planning. Land is enrolled in CREP under either a 10 or 15 year agreement.

Ask for a No-Obligation Site Assessment.
A Whatcom Conservation District Resource Specialist will visit your property to make a no-obligation site assessment. The Resource Specialist will discuss buffer design options and provide estimates of the rental rate and the signing bonus.The site assessment is also a good opportunity for questions and answers about the program and site-specific issues. Please contact the Whatcom Conservation District to schedule a site assessment.

If you would like to Enroll
To enroll in CREP, please make an appointment with the Farm Service Agency at (360) 318-8121. Enrolling in CREP does not obligate you to plant anything or to sign an agreement. CREP project planning and approval can take five months or more and during that time, landowners may withdraw without obligation. The landowner CREP agreement is the final step in the planning process. Enrollment just initiates the planning process.


CREP Totals
# of Projects   438
Miles of Buffer   220
Seedlings Planted   1,783,903
Acres Planted   2,942

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This page was last modified on 06/04/19 - 13:45