Due to the current amount of fallow ground, we are aware of the significant demand for the seasonal flooding practice for shorebirds offered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). We understand that some participating growers may have started water already, while others are holding off until they learn more about the status of their applications.
Last week, we informed industry members that this year’s demand would likely exceed the remaining funding for our current rice conservation program. This alone increases the odds that your project may not be ultimately funded, even if you agreed with NRCS to start to flood-up before final notice of funding (by signing a waiver).
Largely due to this season’s unusually high interest in this practice, we have recently learned that an elevated concern over mosquito control issues is at-hand. We will be coordinating discussions with our waterbird and mosquito control partners in the coming weeks to better understand how to address these concerns.
While we will work to address mosquito control issues, we believe this emerging issue adds even more uncertainty around the ability for NRCS to approve these projects. It is our strong recommendation that applicants who have not yet started water delay this action until the latest possible time. We recommend taking such actions in close coordination with your local NRCS office to make sure you have the best status information possible about the likelihood of your project ultimately being approved. According to the practice specifications, the time period for the two to four inch flooding conditions may be initiated as late as September 15. Therefore, for those who have not yet started water, this should allow plenty of time for these outstanding issues to be resolved.
If you have questions, please contact Paul Buttner, Environmental Affairs Manager, at (916) 206-5340 or firstname.lastname@example.org.