May 19, 2006

Idaho Delegation Says Snake River Conservation Agreement A Win For Water Users And Environment

Idaho and U.S. Department of Agriculture announce $258 million agreement

Washington, D.C.â??Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Larry Craig and Congressmen Mike Simpson and C.L. â??Butchâ?? Otter say todayâ??s announcement of an unprecedented $258 million Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) Agreement between the State of Idaho and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will reduce demands on water and improve water quality and wildlife habitat. CREP is part of the Conservation Reserve Program. This is Idahoâ??s first CREP Agreement.â??This agreement is a major commitment to Idaho water conservation with benefits to water users while at the same time improving water quality and wildlife habitat,â?? the Delegation members said. â??Once again, Idahoans are showing leadership in acting to assist species and preserve the environment in a cooperative and effective manner.â?? The CREP agreement envisions enrolling up to 100,000 acres of irrigated cropland in the Idaho Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer and could reduce irrigated water use by 200,000 acre-feet annually. Groundwater levels will be increased under the plan, which would also establish new wetlands, grassland areas, and permanent vegetative cover for wildlife. â??The CREP program will be an effective tool in replenishing the Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer and helping Idaho meet its conservation goals,â?? the Delegation members added. â??We applaud the efforts of Governor Kempthorne and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns in reaching this agreement and thank the many Idahoans who are partnering to improve the continued multiple use of Idahoâ??s jewel, the Snake River and the Snake River Plain Aquifer.Producers can obtain more information on the Idaho Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer CREP at their local Farm Service Agency office and on FSAâ??s web site at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/dafp/cepd/default.htm.