Environmental program tribal set-aside funds offered
ALBANY —An American Indian Tribal Set-aside Initiative that will direct a portion of New York’s U.S. Department of Agriculture Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) allocation for use specifically on tribal and American Indian Nation lands within New York has been established, according to Donald Pettit, state conservationist for the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
“Other states with sizeable Indian Nation holdings and reservations have used this approach very successfully for many years,” Pettit said. “We feel there is enough interest and need on tribal lands in New York to give this strategy a try here in hopes of supporting Indian Nation conservation priorities.”
The conservation practices emphasize soil health, wildlife habitat enhancement and forest management.
Pettit said these funds will only be available to qualifying tribal government applicants. These include the Seneca Nation of Indians, the Tonawanda Seneca Nation, the Tuscarora Indian Nation, the Cayuga Nation of New York, the Onondaga Nation, the Oneida Indian Nation, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe and the Shinnecock Indian Nation.
Individuals of American Indian ancestry managing lands off of tribal territories can apply. Non-American Indian operators of tribal lands may be eligible provided tribal governments or members are also participants in the contracts.
“At this time, we’re directing $250,000 to this first year of our Tribal Set-aside Initiative in order to start building interest as we work out the details of the application and contracting process,” Pettit said.
Tribal set-aside applications will be due by April 18. Internal agency application ranking work will be completed by May 16 and the contract obligation deadline will be July 18. For more information, contact the local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service office.
Conservation District offers annual seedling sale
WESTPORT — The Essex County Soil and Water Conservation District is starting its annual seedling sale.