The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program Focuses of Water Quality Improvement in the Tippecanoe River Watershed

What is CREP? The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is a voluntary federal and state natural resource conservation program that provides financial assistance to landowners and operators who apply practices on their land to improve water quality by reducing sediment and nutrient runoff. This program is designed to help alleviate some of the concerns of high nonpoint source sediment, nutrient, pesticide, and herbicide losses from agricultural lands by restoring buffers and wetlands to improve water quality.

Through CREP, program participants receive financial incentives from the USDA, Farm Service Agency (FSA), and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) to voluntarily enroll in the program and implement conservation practices on environmentally sensitive land. Eligible practices through the CREP include Permanent Native Grasses, Hardwood Tree Planting, Wildlife Habitat, Riparian Buffers, Filter Strips, Wetland Restoration, and Bottomland Timber Establishment. Practice eligibility and incentive payments have been adjusted to focus more on water quality improvement. The Tippecanoe River Watershed CREP area includes parts of Benton, Carroll, Cass, Fulton, Jasper, Kosciusko, Marshall, Miami, Noble, Pulaski, Starke, Tippecanoe, White, and Whitley counties.

Landowners in the watershed can receive annual rental payments, cost-share assistance, and incentive payments from the FSA similar to and above the incentives that are part of the FSA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). In addition, the Clean Water Indiana Program administered by ISDA will pay additional incentive dollars for applying the conservation buffers and/or wetlands through the CREP. The Clean Water Indiana Program will pay qualifying CREP participants one-time incentive payments of $100.00 per acre for grass practices, $400.00 per acre for tree practices, and $950.00 per acre for wetland practices on top of the federal incentive payments. For more information on program requirements or details on the eligible practices, visit or contact your local Farm Service Agency office or local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) office. You can also contact Chris Gardner, the ISDA Tippecanoe River Watershed CREP leader at cgardner@isda.in.gov or by phone at 574-223-3220 x3. Sign-up for CREP began on August 27, 2010 and will continue until enrollment goals are attained or until incentive dollars are fully allocated, whichever comes first. If you are a landowner or producer located in one of the counties listed above in the Tippecanoe River Watershed and are interested in participating in CREP, please contact one of the offices above or the ISDA CREP leader.