VSWCD Financial Assistance Program

 

On February 22nd 2016, The Valencia Soil and Water Conservation District (VSWCD) approved implementation of a financial assistance program for preservation of soil and water, and the natural landscapes that protect and enhance the quality and resilience of these critical resources.  This program is being established to promote conservation practices which can be used across different landscapes including rural, urban, wildland urban interface (WUI), rangeland, and agricultural lands within the Middle Rio Grande Valley floodplain, uplands, and mesas.  The following categories have been identified:

 

  1. Rangeland Assistance:  Erosion-control projects that have a conservation plan from the USDA1 Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) or equivalent, with support and technical assistance.
  2. Cropland Assistance:  Soils testing
  3. Riparian restoration and promotion of native habitat
  4. Water Harvesting
  5. Pollinator enhancement and gardens

 

This program is primarily funded by property tax mill levy funds collected within the District area.  The programs being established will continue to be developed to benefit the livelihood and quality of life of the residents of the Valencia Soil & Water Conservation District now and into the future. 

 

Who can apply: Individual landowners, leaseholders with a landowner agreement, and groups.  Groups may include schools, community gardens, senior centers, community centers, home-owner associations, or other similar groups.  Mill levy contributors are eligible for assistance on an ongoing basis.  Mill levy non-contributors are eligible as other funding permits. 

 

The following guidelines delineate the process of application for these assistance programs.  Exclusion:  may not apply for applicant cost share of a conservation project funded by another source.  Community and Agricultural Assistance are the two main categories.

 

***Conservation Practice is defined for this set of guidelines as a specific proposed installation or establishment of a system for support of natural resources conservation, enhancement or the natural system itself which requires funding for re-establishing on the land.

 

  1. COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE is provided for the following conservation categories:
  • Erosion control projects where a watershed-wide erosion concern is identified, properties are at risk and improvements enhance watershed health.
  • Soils testing for non-commercial or potential commercial use of soils.
  • Water harvesting for landscaping and garden use. 
  • Pollinator enhancement habitat and garden plantings. 
  • Riparian restoration management practices for watershed health, habitat      improvements, and safety (including fire risks to property). 

 

 COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE GUIDELINES:

 

All residential mill levy contributors are eligible for the program on an ongoing basis.  All applications are considered on a first come, first serve basis.

 

  1. For individual applicants, a copy of the tax bill for the property will be required to be eligible for assistance and must accompany the application.  The property tax bill must show that the applicant owns the land and is being assessed for the Valencia SWCD mill levy.
  2. For group applicants, a representative of the group must provide a copy of their individual tax bill showing that the representative is being assessed for the Valencia SWCD mill levy.  The additional participants in a group application must be listed and an affidavit signed that the majority of the participants reside within the District area.  The group applicant may request assistance for private or public lands.  Lands for group projects are considered community (residential and commercial) when not for agricultural use.
  3. Applicants may submit up to two soil sampling requests per year and up to one application of each of the other identified conservation categories for a five year period (Note:  an applicant may submit a soil sample as an individual and be part of a group application for one of the other conservation practices)
  4. Assistance limits or ‘caps’ and cost share rates per conservation practice do apply (applicants may apply for more than one conservation practice).  The cap per residential conservation practice per fiscal year will be determined annually.

 

For 2016 the following caps and cost share rates apply for each category:

 

  1. SOIL TESTING:  100% paid by VSWCD for up to two samples testing per year per applicant including shipping to one of the soils testing lab predetermined for New Mexico soils.  More details on the soil sampling and testing program is available through the District office.
  2. WATER HARVESTING:  For landscaping and garden use the 2016 cap for water harvesting projects is $1200 and is 75% payable by VSWCD reimbursement, and 25% costs paid by applicant.  Technical assistance is available for devising the water harvesting system design and plan for residential landscaping and garden use.  Please contact the VSWCD Office for more information.
  3. Pollinator enhancement habitat and garden plantings:  For pollinator habitat and garden plantings, the 2016 cap is $600 with 75% of costs payable by VSWCD, and 25% by applicant.  Technical assistance is available for developing a pollinator enhancement habitat landscape or garden plantings design and plan.  Please contact the VSWCD office for more information.
  4. Riparian restoration management practices for watershed health, habitat improvements, and safety: For 2016, the cap is $5000 with the following conditions:

 

                  i.Up to 5 acres, 75% payable by reimbursement, with 25% of costs to be paid by applicant.

           

            ii.More than 5 acres, 50% payable by VSWCD reimbursement, 50% payable by applicant.

 

  1.  Applicants will complete the VSWCD application which includes a brief proposal of the project.  This narrative identifies one or more of the Community Assistance conservation categories listed.

 

  1. AGRICULTURAL ASSISTANCE is provided for the following conservation categories:
  • Rangeland and cropland assistance for erosion control projects that have a conservation plan from the USDA Natural Resources Department or equivalent with support and technical assistance.
  • Soils testing for rangeland and cropland.
  • Water harvesting for wildlife and livestock.
  • Vegetative cover for carbon sequestration, water catchment, and pollinator habitat and overall watershed health enhancements with emphasis on native species.
  • Other conservation practices not otherwise funded in an overall conservation plan from the USDA Natural Resources Department or equivalent with support and       technical assistance.

 

AGRICULTURAL ASSISTANCE GUIDELINES:

 

All agricultural mill levy contributors are eligible for the program on an ongoing basis.  Tribal agricultural land applicants may be eligible if other funding sources available.    All applications are considered on a first come, first serve basis.

 

  1. Agricultural applicants may apply as individuals only; as the landowner or leaseholder with landowner permission. For mill levy contributors, the property tax bill of the landowner must be provided to show the assessment for the Valencia SWCD mill levy.  All applicants must provide proof of agricultural designation of land either by zoning or tax filing for agricultural earnings.
  2. Applicants may submit up to two soil sampling requests per year and up to one application of each of the other identified conservation categories for a five year period. 
  3. Assistance caps and cost share rates per conservation practice do apply (applicants may apply for more than one conservation practice).  The cap per agricultural conservation practice per fiscal year will be determined annually. 

 

  • For 2016, the cap is $5000 per conservation practice, excluding soils testing which is at cost for testing and shipping and 100% paid by VSWCD.  The cost share rates per category are as follows:

 

  1. Erosion control projects:  75% payable by VSWCD reimbursement, and 25% by applicant.
  2. Soils testing: Up to two samples per year per applicant including shipping to one of the preferred soils testing lab on file with VSWCD for New Mexico soils.  More details on the soil sampling and testing program is available through the District office.
  3. Water harvesting for wildlife and livestock:  75% payable by VSWCD reimbursement, and 25% by applicant.  Technical assistance is available for devising the water harvesting system design and plan.  Please contact the VSWCD Office for more information.

Vegetative cover projects: A conservation plan as earlier defined is required for VSWCD to determine the feasibility of these projects.  VSWCD can assist with finding a suitable partner agency or other source for a conservation plan.

 

                     i.Up to 5 acres of land are eligible for 75% of costs payable by VSWCD reimbursement, and 25% of costs paid by applicant.

               ii.More than 5 acres of land are eligible for 50% costs payable by VSWCD reimbursement, and 50% of costs paid by applicant.

 

  1. Other conservation practices not otherwise funded: in an overall conservation plan from the USDA Natural Resources Department or equivalent with support and technical assistance on agricultural lands are eligible as follows:

         i.Up to 5 acres of land are eligible for 75% payable by VSWCD reimbursement, and 25% of costs to be paid by applicant. 

               ii.More than 5 acres of land are eligible for 50% costs payable by VSWCD reimbursement, and 50% of costs payable by applicant.

 

  1. Applicants will complete the VSWCD application and attach the conservation plan when required which should include the budget estimate for the project.

 

 

For All Community & Agricultural Assistance Programs:

 

  1. Applications are subject to project feasibility determination by the VSWCD.  Written notice of application acceptance or rejection will be provided.  Applications rejected due to insufficient funding at time of the application may be resubmitted upon funding availability.  Applications can be partially accepted as determined by VSWCD.
  2. All applications are reviewed for approval or rejection within the VSWCD fiscal year funding available from July 1st to June 30th annually.  Project proposals and budgets may be modified by the VSWCD for acceptance and a project agreement will be provided for applicant approval and signature prior to start of any practice(s).
  3. Projects are expected to be completed within the VSWCD fiscal year from July 1st to June 30th or an application needs to be submitted for the subsequent year. 
  4. Approved assistance requests are paid by reimbursement upon completion of a project.  A full detailed accounting of all expenses with paid receipts (copies are fine) must be submitted with project completion notification.  Any contractor invoicing is considered summarized but all other receipts must be submitted with a summary page including all charges and their explanation for completion of the project.  Assistance is not provided on gross receipts tax.  Gross receipts must be itemized on invoicing and summary pages and if not, it will be assumed to be included and removed for calculation of reimbursement.
  5. All assistance recipients will receive an IRS 1099 miscellaneous form for tax purposes in the January following project completion if their total assistance for all conservation practices is greater than $600.
  6. All completed conservation practices, except soil testing which can be done annually, must be maintained for a period of 5 years.  If additional applications for different projects are submitted, written and photo documentation of a previously approved assistance project(s) must be provided.  VSWCD may request a site visit for assistance requests, following completion of project and during the life of the practice (depending on scope of the project) and will coordinate with applicant.  Applicant must agree to this for application approval as this allows VSWCD to evaluate the effectiveness of these assistance programs in supporting best conservation practices within the District. 

 

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Footnote 1, page 1:  United States Department of Agriculture

 

 

Get in Touch      

Valencia SWCD

PO Box 170

Belen, NM 87002

 

Offices:

Whitfield Wildlife Conservation Area
2424 Hwy 47
Belen, NM  87002

505-864-8914
valenciaswcd@live.com

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Office will be closed in observance of these days.

Monday January 2, 2017 - New Year's Day (observed)    

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