PROMO Drought - Water Issues Canal - Chris Sorensen

Republican River conservation district funds producers $29.5 million award

© Chris Sorensen
Deb Daniel, RRWCD General Manager

The Republican River Water Conservation District (RRWCD) has surpassed the first requirement of the 2016 Republican River Compact Administration (RRCA) resolution by retiring 10,000 irrigated acres prior to the end of 2024 with 15,023 acres currently under contract and approximately 2,000 contracted irrigated acres in the process of being finalized.

In 2016, the RRCA approved a resolution requiring the permanent retirement of 25,000 irrigated acres in the South Fork Focus Zone (SFFZ) by the end of 2029. The RRWCD has far exceeded the first requirement of this resolution which is a great accomplishment.

During the 2022 state legislative session, the Republican River Water Conservation District was awarded $29,500,000 of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds through Senate Bill 22-028. These funds must be under contract prior to August 15, 2024 with up to $500,000 allocated for administrative costs. The RRWCD chose to utilize the entire $29,500,000 to retire acres and put the funds in the hands of the producers in the SFFZ. Due to all of these funds being fully encumbered, the producers who stepped forward to retire their irrigated acres will receive ARPA payments over the next 2.5 years.

The RRWCD is now going back to the rate per acre that was offered in each of the conservation programs before the ARPA funding became available. The RRWCD is offering $4,500/irrigated acre retired through the CREP program, $3,500 per acre through the EQIP program and $2,000 for acres retired in the RAMP program.

Currently the RRWCD is pursuing additional funding through grants. When the additional funds are available, the funds will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

The RRWCD office staff encourages all well owners in the South Fork Focus Zone area to contact the office to discuss how to get paperwork completed and ready for when the additional funding is available.

Once 25,000 irrigated acres are retired in the South Fork Focus Zone, the rates paid through the RRWCD conservation programs will never return to the higher rates that are currently available. If you are interested in being paid the most you will ever receive through these programs, it is imperative that you contact the RRWCD office now. RRWCD office phone 970-332-3552 or RRWCD district cell phone 970-630-3525