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Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP)

Promoting ground and surface water conservation or water quality improvement on agricultural lands

Program Basics
The Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) is a voluntary conservation program under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Under AWEP, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) enters into partnership agreements with eligible entities that want to promote ground and surface water conservation or improve water quality on agricultural lands. The Secretary of Agriculture has delegated the authority for AWEP to the NRCS Chief. As part of EQIP, the AWEP program operates through contracts with producers to plan and implement conservation practices in project areas established through partnership agreements.

Legislative Changes
The 2008 Farm Bill established AWEP, replacing the Ground and Surface Water Conservation Program.

AWEP's purposes - to promote ground and surface water conservation and improve water quality - are achieved by having producers implement agricultural water enhancement activities. These include:

Application and Financial Information
An agricultural producer may apply directly to NRCS for financial or technical assistance to implement agricultural water enhancement activities in an approved AWEP project area. Producers who apply directly to NRCS must be eligible for EQIP and selected applications will be subject to applicable EQIP requirements.

Entities that are eligible to enter into AWEP partnership agreements include, but are not limited to, federally recognized Indian Tribes, States, units of local government, agricultural or silvicultural associations, or other groups of such producers, such as an irrigation association, agricultural land trust, or other nongovernmental organization that has experience working with agricultural producers.

AWEP project proposals submitted by eligible entities are ranked competitively and must include the following:

In evaluating an application, NRCS may give higher priority to proposals that:

Eligibility, Uses, and Restrictions
Entities that are eligible to enter into AWEP partnership agreements include, but are not limited to, federally recognized Indian Tribes, States, units of local government, agricultural or silvicultural associations, or other groups of such producers, such as an irrigation associations, agricultural land trusts, or other nongovernmental organizations with experience working with agricultural producers.

Website Information
For more information and updates about AWEP and other Farm Bill topics, refer to the NRCS Website at: www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/farmbill/2008/

NRCS AWEP program Website at: www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/awep/

Contact Information
Mark S. Parson
USDA NRCS
EQIP Program Specialist
1400 Independence Ave. SW Room 5227
Washington, DC 20250
Phone: 202-720-1840
Fax: 202-720-4265
mark.parson@wdc.usda.gov

Last Updated January 26, 2010

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