7 CFR 632.15 - Eligible uses and treatment of reclaimed lands.

§ 632.15 Eligible uses and treatment of reclaimed lands.

(a) Reclaimed lands and water may be used for cropland, hayland, pasture land, rangeland, woodland, wildlife land, natural areas, noncommercial recreation land, and the supporting uses associated with these land uses. Other land uses proposed by public entities for public use and benefit such as open space, conservation uses, natural areas, and recreation sites may be approved by the NRCS State conservationist in accordance with the priorities stated in § 632.12. However, development of public sites, such as the installation of recreation facilities, is not eligible for cost sharing.

(b) Reclaimed land use is determined by the objectives of the land user, compatibility of the land use with surrounding land use, and the practicability and feasibility of restoring the soil and water resources to support the use selected.

(c) The maximum acreage of eligible lands and water that may be offered for contract under one ownership is 320 acres for the life of the program.

(d) Conservation treatment eligible for Federal cost sharing includes the combination of practices needed and feasible to achieve:

(1) Protection of life, property, and elimination of public health and safety hazards, including land stabilization.

(2) Restoration of the environment where degraded by past mining, including water quality, visual quality, recreation resources, fish and wildlife habitat, and erosion and sediment control.

(3) A site that can be developed for a beneficial use as specified in § 632.15(a). Examples of eligible treatment that may be cost shared include but are not limited to: Land shaping and grading, critical area planting or other plantings for stabilization, improving visual quality, wildlife food and cover, diversions or terraces, waterways or lined ditches, grade stabilization structures, sediment basins, and special practices for sealing shafts and tunnels, correcting subsidence problems, or other unusual situations. Practices not eligible for cost sharing are those that are solely applied to develop a reclamation site (including sites developed by public entities for public use), increase the production of crops, or for the recurring maintenance of applied reclamation.

(e) Applied conservation treatment is to meet the applicable Federal and State standards for the reclamation and conservation treatment of abandoned or inadequately reclaimed coal-mined lands and water. Where needed, these standards are incorporated in local NRCS technical guides as the NRCS standards and specifications applicable to the program. Special practices as specified in § 632.15(d) are to be developed in cooperation with appropriate State or Federal agencies having the expertise or responsibility for the practices.

(f) NRCS State conservationists, in consultation with the State reclamation committee, are to:

(1) Develop a list of practices that are eligible for cost sharing, and

(2) Maintain, as applicable, lists of average costs of applying conservation treatment to eligible lands and waters.

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