USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides assistance for farmers in parts of the Highlands and portions of the Pinelands through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Funding is available for technical and financial assistance for conservation practices that promote water quality and quantity in selected areas.
Funds for this region have been set aside as part of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) project in the Delaware River Watershed. The Delaware River Watershed Working Lands Conservation and Protection Partnership, originally led by American Farmland Trust, received USDA funding of $13 million for projects in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey over a five-year period. The partnership, now under the direction of National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, designated $900,000 for EQIP for New Jersey in FY15 for the project area. An interactive map of the project areas can be viewed online at http://bit.ly/1LmVTps.
In the north, the project area includes Delaware River tributaries from the Flat Brook in Sussex County to the Musconetcong in Hunterdon. This Highlands region covers all of Warren County, about half of Sussex County, and portions of Morris and Hunterdon that drain to Lake Hopatcong and the Musconetcong River.
The targeted area of the southern part of the state includes areas that support the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer as well as direct tributaries to the Delaware River and Delaware Bay in Salem and Cape May County. This target area includes portions of Ocean, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Atlantic, Salem, Cumberland and Cape May Counties.
Applicants eligible for EQIP who farm in the designated area are encouraged to visit their local NRCS office.