7 CFR 1467.6 - Establishing priority for enrollment of properties in WRP.
(a) When evaluating easement, 30-year contract, or restoration cost-share agreement offers from landowners, the NRCS, with advice from the State Technical Committee, may consider:
(1) The conservation benefits of obtaining an easement, or other interest in the land;
(2) The cost effectiveness of each easement or other interest in eligible land, so as to maximize the environmental benefits per dollar expended;
(3) Whether the landowner or another person is offering to contribute financially to the cost of the easement or other interest in the land to leverage Federal funds;
(4) The extent to which the purposes of the easement program would be achieved on the land;
(5) The productivity of the land; and
(6) The on-farm and off-farm environmental threats if the land is used for the production of agricultural commodities.
(b) To the extent practicable, taking into consideration costs and future agricultural and food needs, NRCS shall give priority to:
(1) Obtaining permanent easements over shorter term easements; and
(2) Acquiring easements based on the value of the easement for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife, in consultation with FWS.
(c) NRCS, in consultation with the State Technical Committee, may place higher priority on certain geographic regions of the State where restoration of wetlands may better achieve State and regional goals and objectives.
(d) Notwithstanding any limitation of this part, the State Conservationist may, at any time, exclude enrollment of otherwise eligible lands if the participation of the adjacent landowners is essential to the successful restoration of the wetlands and those adjacent landowners are unwilling or ineligible to participate. The State Conservationist may coordinate with other Federal, State, and nonprofit organizations to encourage the restoration of wetlands on adjacent ineligible lands, especially in priority geographic areas.
(1) The Chief will conduct an assessment during fiscal year 2008 and each subsequent fiscal year for the purpose of determining the interest and allocations for the Prairie Pothole Region to enroll land determined eligible under § 1467.4(d)(5) of this part into 30-year easements. Annually, the Chief will provide specific instructions for the assessment in writing to the applicable State Conservationists.
(2) The Chief will make an adjustment to the allocation for an applicable State for a fiscal year, based on the results of the assessment conducted under paragraph (e)(1) of this section for the State during the previous fiscal year.