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Oregon Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)


The Oregon Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) is a cooperative venture between the State of Oregon and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency with support from local soil and water conservation districts. The purpose of the program is to restore, maintain, and enhance streamside areas along agricultural lands to benefit fish, wildlife, and water quality. Landowners enrolled in CREP receive annual rental payments, incentive payments, and cost share payments to install conservation measures such as planting trees and shrubs, installing fencing, livestock watering facilities, and other approved conservation measures.

Oregon’s program is unique in the nation in having a cumulative impact incentive payment where landowners who enroll more than one-half of a five mile stream segment receive greater compensation. Similarly, landowners who lease water for instream purposes on acreage enrolled in CREP are paid higher rental rates.

Oregon and the USDA signed an agreement to create the Oregon CREP in 1998. Oregon and the USDA revised the agreement in 2000 and again in 2004 to make more streams eligible for the program, allow additional streamside restoration practices, and formalize an innovative partnership in the Tualatin watershed that provides additional incentives for restoration on high value farmland.

The CREP partnership is an important investment for OWEB because of the significant match leveraged by the state’s investment and the long-term commitment to restoring riparian buffers in agricultural lands.

Program Partnership

The state-federal agreement provides for joint administration of the Oregon CREP.

  • USDA, through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), administers the federal contracts, develops conservation plans, provides information to prospective enrollees, pays 50 percent of eligible restoration practice costs, and conducts annual site reviews.
  • The state, through OWEB, soil and water conservation districts, watershed councils, and the Oregon Departments of Forestry, Agriculture, Water Resources, and Fish and Wildlife, cooperates with USDA agencies to provide technical assistance, public outreach, and financial assistance. OWEB administers contracts for the state portion of the restoration practice cost-share.
  • The state and USDA are also responsible for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of CREP in restoring watersheds and threatened and endangered species habitat.

Funding Partnership

Oregon’s agricultural landowners, the State of Oregon, and USDA have contributed significant resources toward riparian restoration through CREP. The total federal dollar commitment so far (2014) is nearly $110 million, including the total anticipated cost of multi-year contract rental payments, cost-share, and incentive payments. Oregon has invested more than $20 million in CREP to date (2014).