The Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Environmental Quality Initiatives Program-WaterSMART Initiative (EQIP-WSI) is a collaborative effort to target EQIP funding for water quantity and related resource concerns in a way that complements Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) investments made through WaterSMART Programs. Through WaterSMART, BOR supports States, Tribes, and local entities as they plan for and implement actions to increase water supply through investments to modernize existing infrastructure and attention to local water conflicts. This collaboration between NRCS and BOR is a priority of the National Drought Resilience Partnership (NDRP), a federal partnership to enhance the Nation’s drought resilience. Coordinating both agencies’ investments can improve their cumulative impact on water conservation and drought resilience.
EQIP-WSI is implemented in Idaho priority areas as proposed by NRCS Idaho Team Leads and local partners and selected by the NRCS State Conservationist. The State Conservationist’s selection or selections are then submitted to agency leadership as part of a competitive process. Priority areas are approved at the national level.
“We want to encourage our partners and stakeholders to speak with their local NRCS Service Center staff about their ideas for EQIP-WSI areas and work through the process together,” said Curtis Elke, NRCS State Conservationist of Idaho. “Active collaboration is essential to ensure that a proposal meets all the necessary requirements for consideration, as well as ensure its success should it be selected for funding.”
Each EQIP-WSI priority area proposal must:
- Use the appropriate NRCS template and follow NRCS guidelines related to submissions.
- Summarize the priority area and proposed activities in one brief paragraph.
- Provide a map and a GIS Shapefile of the entire priority area, describe the overall water resource problem or opportunities in it, and identify the priority resource concerns addressable by EQIP-WSI assistance.
- Identify the type and extent of conservation practices proposed for implementation in the priority area.
- Identify the specific BOR WaterSMART Program project (2013 or more recent)and describe how it will be complemented by EQIP-WSI activities.
- Describe any special environmental concerns, risks, or significant barriers that may impact delivery of EQIP-WSI assistance.
- Describe how EQIP-WSI assistance will leverage community partnerships and inclusive approaches to benefit disadvantaged communities.
- Estimate the number of contracts, contract acres, and EQIP-WSI funds needed annually for up to five years.
- Define the anticipated benefits for the priority area and related communities of water users and identify key measures and target thresholds that will be used to indicate a successful outcome.
- Describe how success or lessons learned will be shared with others.
All EQIP-WSI priority area proposals must be submitted to Josh Miller, Acting NRCS Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, by August 4.