Date of this Version
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program whereby the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides technical and financial assistance to active farmers and ranchers to address natural resource concerns such as soil conservation, water quality and quantity, nutrient management, and fish and wildlife habitat. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is working with these landowners to maximize the environmental benefits gained for the expenditures made in the program. Funding has expanded significantly under the 2002 Farm Bill, with the amount of annual funding authorized reaching $1.3 billion by fiscal year 2007. The EQIP has been used to implement a wide variety of practices that are considered beneficial to many species of fish and wildlife. The NRCS is also beginning to use EQIP to address the needs of declining and other at-risk fish and wildlife species. Few data are available that document fish and wildlife response to EQIP. Program implementation to date is summarized, and recent information on planning of practices with the potential to benefit fish and wildlife resources is examined.