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Landowner Assistance

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North Carolina Agricultural Cost Share Program
Agriculture Cost Share ProgramThe NCACSP is an assistance program that provides acsptechnical, educational and financial assistance to the agricultural community with regards to natural resource concerns on their land, particularly soil erosion and water quality issues. The following list is of the most often supported “Best Management Practices” funded by the Agricultural Cost Share Program.

Conservation Cost Share Practices
Farmers/Agricultural Enterprises

Access Road
A path to provide a fixed route for travel for moving livestock, equipment, and supplies. In addition, it provides access for maintenance and management of conservation enterprises while controlling runoff to prevent erosion and maintain or improve water quality.

Animal Trail and Walkways
A travel way for livestock and/or wildlife to provide movement through difficult or sensitive terrain. The trails should accomplish one or more of the following purposes: provide or improve access to forage, water and/or shelter; improve grazing efficiency and distribution, divert travel away from ecologically sensitive and/or erosive sites.

Conservation Crop Rotation
Establishment of a recurring conservation sequence of crop production in the same field. Financial assistance is provided to assist with the development of this sequence.

Critical Area Planting
Establish permanent vegetation on areas with existing or expected high rates of erosion on degraded sites that usually cannot be stabilized by ordinary conservation treatment, and if left untreated could be severely damaged by erosion.

Cropland Conversion
Establish and maintain a conservation cover of grasses, trees, or wildlife plantings on fields previously used for crop production. This change from row crops to agrass or tree canopy reduces runoff and improves water quality.

Diversion
A channel constructed across the slope with a supporting ridge on the lower side to divert excess water from one area for use or safe disposal in other areas. Some instances where diversions are appropriate include where runoff damages cropland, pastureland, farmsteads, feedlots, or conservation practices such as terraces or strip-cropping.

Early Successional Habitat Development
Manage early plant succession to benefit desired wildlife or natural communities by: increasing plant community diversity; provide access for removal and collection of forest products, and provide access to forested areas for recreation.

Fence
Used to enclose or divide an area of land with a suitable permanent structure to: exclude livestock or big game from areas that should be protected from grazing; control domestic livestock while permitting wildlife movement; confine livestock or big game to an area.

Field Border
A strip of permanent vegetation established at the edge of a field to: control erosion, protect edges of fields that are used as turn rows or travel lanes for farm machinery, reduce competition from adjacent woodland, provide wildlife food cover, or improve the landscape.

Filter Strip
A strip or area of vegetation for removing sediment, organic matter, nutrients and other pollutants from runoff and wastewater. Can be used on cropland fields adjacent to field ditches and other water bodies, or above other conservation practices such as terraces or diversions.

Grassed Waterway
A natural or constructed channel that is shaped or graded to required dimensions for the purpose of: conveying runoff from rows, terraces, diversions or other water concentrations without causing erosion or flooding; to reduce gully erosion and to protect water quality.

Heavy Use Protection
The stabilization of areas frequently and intensively used by people, animals or vehicles by establishing vegetative cover, by surfacing with suitable materials and/or by installing needed structures.

Long Term No-Till
Planting all crops for at least five consecutive years in 80% or more residue from the existing crops and/or cover crops with no soil surface width disturbance greater than 25% of the row spacing.

Pasture and Hay Planting
Establishing and re-establishing or renovating native or introduced forage species and may be applied on cropland, hay land, pastureland, or other agriculture lands.

Prescribed Grazing
Managing the controlled harvest of vegetation with grazing animals to: improve or maintain the health and vigor of plant communities; improve or maintain quantity and quality of forage for livestock health and productivity; improve or maintain water quality and quantity; minimize accelerated soil erosion or improve soil quality.

Residue Management No-Till and Strip-Till
Managing the amount, orientation and distribution of crop and other plant residues on the soil surface during part of the year, while growing crops in a clean tilled seedbed.

Stream Crossing
A trail or travel-way constructed across a stream to allow livestock or equipment to cross without disturbing the bottom or causing erosion on the banks.

Stripcropping
Growing crops and sod in systematic arrangement of alternating strips or bands on the contour to improve water quality.

Waste Management System
A planned system in which all necessary components are installed for managing liquid and solid waste to prevent or minimize degradation of soil, ground and surface water resources.

Water Well
A hole; drilled, dug, driven bored, jetted or otherwise constructed into an aquifer to: provide water for livestock. This practice can only be applied when removing animals from a creek or other body of water.

Watering Facility
A device (tank, trough or other watertight container) for providing animal access to water in order to: protect and enhance vegetative cover through proper distribution of grazing; provide erosion control through better grassland management and/or protect streams, ponds and water supplies from contamination by providing alternative access to water.

Eligibility
If you are a landowner or renter of an existing agricultural operation that has been operating for more than three years, you are eligible to participate in the North Carolina Agriculture Cost Share Program.

How Does it Work?
Submit an application to Gaston Natural Resources located in the Citizen’s Resource Center, at Dallas, NC. The applications are ranked based on resource concerns identified in the county. Applicants can be reimbursed up to 75% of a predetermined average cost for each BMP installed. The applicant is responsible for 25 percent of the total costs. (Ask about joining the Enhanced Voluntary Agricultural District! Participation in the Gaston Enhanced Voluntary Agricultural District saves the producer money by decreasing the amount of money participants are responsible for. In most cases this is an additional savings of 15%111) For more information call Gaston Natural Resource Department at (704) 922-4181, or drop by at 1303 Cherryville Highway, Dallas. Located in the Citizen’s Resource Center.

Since 2008, Gaston Natural Resources has applied for and assisted the people of Gaston County with over $ 408,000 .00 in grants and available funds. Gaston Natural Resources remains dedicated to its mission of providing technical and financial support to the citizens of Gaston County, regardless of the economic climate.

ccapCommunity Conservation Assistance Program

Community Conservation Assistance ProgramCCAP is a voluntary incentive based program designed to improve water quality through the installation of various best management practices on urban, suburban and rural lands, not directly involved in agricultural production.

CCAP consists of educational, technical, and financial assistance provided to landowners by the Gaston Natural Resource Department.

Riparian Buffers

Riparian Buffers are areas of native trees and shrubs located adjacent to a body of water. These buffers serve as a barrier to nonpoint source pollution from stormwater. Buffers also filter runoff, control flooding, protect property from erosion and provide essential wildlife habitat.

Backyard Rain Gardens

Backyard rain gardens, also known as bioretention areas in larger scale settings, are small depressions in the landscape that are used to collect stormwater runoff for a short period of time. They typically hold water less than 48 hours. Rain gardens are placed between stormwater runoff sources such as roofs, and driveways and the nearby receiving waters such as storm drains or creeks. Rain gardens can include a variety of trees, shrubs and perennial plants that provide habitat and help treat runoff.

Backyard Wetlands

Backyard Wetlands known as stormwater wetlands on a larger scale are constructed to mimic the functions of natural wetlands. They are intended to hold water and are planted in naturally wet areas. Backyard wetlands temporarily store, filter and clean stormwater runoff using plants that thrive in wet conditions. Wetlands also provide wildlife habitat, flood water storage and they replenish groundwater.

Streambank and Shoreline Protection

Streambank and shoreline Protection is the use of vegetation to stabilize and prevent erosion of the banks of streams, lakes or other waterways. This BMP restores the natural function of the stream and improves water quality. Erosion leads to sediment build up, loss of habitat, folding, loss of property and poor water quality. This practice prevents erosion, restores wildlife habitat, reduces flooding and filters polluted water.

Cisterns

Cisterns are storage tanks designed for the collecting rainwater for use in watering lawns, gardens, landscape or indoor plants. Cisterns are intended to reduce stormwater runoff, encourage runoff infiltration and conserve water.

Pet Waste Receptacles

Pet Waste Receptacles are designed to encourage pet owners to pick up after their animals. When maintained properly, this practice reduces harmful bacteria from entering waterways. This practice should only be installed tin public areas such as parks, neighborhood common areas and apartment complexes. This BMP is not intended for use by individual homeowners.

Impervious Surface Conversion

Impervious surfaces are land covers such as driveways, and roads that do not allow percolation of rainwater in the ground or vegetation. This BMP allows for removal of impervious surfaces and conversion to a more permeable surface. This practice must be combined with vegetation establishment or permeable pavement installation.

Permeable Pavement

Permeable pavement is an alternative to conventional concrete and asphalt paving. It allows runoff to soak back into the ground instead of running off. Permeable pavement can be used for driveways, walkways, and low flow parking lots. These materials reduce runoff, decrease flooding, filter pollutions and recharge groundwater. The BMP is only eligible as component of impervious surface conversion.

Other eligible BMP’s include grassed swales, abandoned well closures, critical area plantings, diversions and stream restorations.

Who is eligible?
Eligible landowners may include homeowners whose homes are at least 5 years old, businesses, schools, parks, churches and community groups. Essentially, all private and publicly owned lands are eligible for the program.

How does CCAP work?
Interested landowners submit applications to Gaston Natural Resources. Applications will be ranked based on local water quality priorities. If eligible, a conservation plan is prepared for the applicant to install the BMP. The landowner may be reimbursed up to 75% of the pre-established average cost of the BMP.

For more information contact Gaston Natural Resource Department at (704) 922-4181. Or drop by at 1303 Cherryville Highway, Dallas—located in the Citizens Resource Center.

Since 2007, through the Community Conservation Assistance Program, Gaston Natural Resources has assisted in the funding of thousands of dollars to the people of Gaston County in their pursuance of clean water. This was accomplished through design and technical support in construction of rain gardens, cisterns, wetlands, and pet waste receptacles. Gaston Natural Resources is dedicated to keeping water quality at its best for the people of Gaston County and those downstream.