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Disaster assistance available to Bee County producers affected by wildfires and drought
Apr 05, 2013 | 754 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEE COUNTY – USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Salvador Salinas announced recently that $1.6 million in disaster assistance is available to help with recovery after the historic droughts and wildfires that plagued much of the state in recent years.

Bee County is one of 35 counties in Texas eligible for the assistance. Funds are being made available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which provides both financial and technical assistance to install measures that reduce post-fire damage and aid in the rehabilitation process.

“Many parts of Bee County were affected by drought and wildfires over the last two years,” said Bee County NRCS District Conservationist Matthew Dorsett. “Loss of vegetation not only affects production, livestock and wildlife; it also makes the land vulnerable to erosion by wind and water.”

“Our assistance will enable landowners and livestock producers to accelerate the recovery of the health and vigor of the affected grazing and forest land,” Dorsett said.

Although EQIP sign-up is continuous, applications for this first funding period will be accepted in the Bee County NRCS office through April 29. In order to apply, landowners must visit the local NRCS office to fill out an application. Applications will be ranked and those approved for funding will be offered an EQIP contract.

A priority will be placed on land affected by wildfires with an emphasis on conservation practices that will help restore plant health and condition, prevent soil erosion, and address soil quality and water quality.

On grazing land, practices such as grazing deferment, cross fencing, reseeding and water development are effective post-fire strategies to help reduce erosion and re-establish wildlife.

Dorsett suggests landowners consult with their local NRCS staff to develop a conservation plan, which can be an effective strategy for rangeland recovery and mitigating the effects of the prolonged drought Texas is experiencing.

NRCS services and programs are voluntary and offered without a fee to all agricultural producers. NRCS helps landowners and land managers protect and improve the natural resources on their property, including soil, water, air, plants and animals.

For further assistance in evaluating your land and planning practices to address concerns following a wildfire, contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) or Soil and Water Conservation District in Beeville at (361) 358-3343.
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