Farmers are compensated for voluntarily planting native vegetation along salmon-bearing streams, rather than crops. Vegetation forms a buffer between agricultural land and salmon streams, keeping water clean and cool for salmon. Riparian buffers are preserved under 10-15 year renewable contracts.
Project costs are paid for by the program. The program also provides oversight and maintenance for five years after planting to ensure that trees and vegetation grow healthy and strong.
Landowners are paid rent for the acreage they restore, and they receive a monetary bonus for enrolling in the program. This makes CREP a win-win for Washington farms and fish.
CREP is a voluntary program administered at the federal-level by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), at the state-level by the State Conservation Commission (SCC), and at the local level by conservation districts.
Read this Success Story Snapshot about CREP in the Tucannon River to see an example of accomplishments on the ground.
“CREP has changed the landscape in Whatcom County” (Wayne Chaudiere, Whatcom Conservation District). Riparian buffers, such as the one shown in the photo, now span along 132 miles of stream in Whatcom County, forming a panorama of native tree and shrub forests that were just recently open fields or invasive plant species such as blackberry.
Access the following resources to learn more about CREP eligibility and how to apply.
CREP buffers stabilize stream banks and provide a protective barrier against moving water.
Buffer vegetation increases water infiltration and slows flood waters.
CREP buffers shelter fields, structures, and livestock from blowing wind and snow.
CREP Monitoring Reports Each year, a randomly-selected group of CREP sites is monitored by the Conservation Commission for effectiveness. Below are the links to each of the annual reports that include this monitoring: