M_440_528 - Part 528 – Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)
Part 528 – Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)
Part 528 – Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)

Note: Due to large file sizes, some links may take longer to open. To download please click the "create .pdf " button at the bottom of the screen. 

Click here for the entire part in one file.

ACEP Table of Contents

Subpart A – ACEP General Information

528.0  Purpose

528.01  Background

528.02  Public Access to Data

Subpart B – ACEP Responsibilities

528.10  Responsibilities

528.11  Other Agency Involvement

528.12  Role of State Technical Committee

Subpart C – ACEP Appeals

528.20  Appeals

ACEP-ALE Provisions

Subpart D – ACEP-ALE General Information and Eligibility Requirements

528.30  Overview of the Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) Component

528.31  ACEP-ALE Application Process and Eligibility Overview

528.32  Entity Eligibility Requirements and Responsibilities

528.33  Land Eligibility

528.34  Ineligible Lands

528.35  Payment Eligibility Criteria Applied to Landowners as Beneficiary

528.36  Participation in Other USDA Programs

Subpart E – ACEP-ALE Application, Ranking, and Selection

528.40  ACEP-ALE Application, Ranking, and Selection Overview

528.41  ACEP-ALE Ranking Process

528.42  Applications for ACEP-ALE Cost-Share Assistance

528.43  ACEP-ALE Cost-Share Assistance and Match Requirements

Subpart F – ACEP-ALE Cooperative Agreements and Grant Agreements

528.50  Overview of ACEP-ALE Agreements

528.51  Fund Obligation and Adjustments Under the Cooperative Agreement

528.52  Determining Fair Market Value of the Agricultural Land Easement

Subpart G – ACEP-ALE Deed, Title, and Plan Requirements

528.60  Agricultural Land Easements Deed Requirements

528.61  Guidelines for Agricultural Land Easement Deed Review

528.62  Title Review and Clearance

528.63  The Agricultural Land Easement Plan

Subpart H – ACEP-ALE Eligible Entity Certification

528.70  Overview of the Entity Certification Process

528.71  Certification Prerequisites

528.72  Certification Request Package

528.73  Reviewing the Certification Request Package

528.74  Certification and Administrative Flexibility Provided to Certified Eligible Entities

528.75  Quality Assurance Review and Decertification

Subpart I – ACEP-ALE Financial Management Procedures

528.80  Overview

528.81  Calculating Final Easement Payment Amounts

528.82  Easement Closing and Payment Procedures

Subpart J – ACEP-ALE Easement Records, Monitoring, Enforcement

528.90  Maintaining Official Case Files and NEST Records

528.91  Agricultural Land Easement Monitoring and Review

528.92  Agricultural Land Easement Enforcement

ACEP-WRE Provisions

Subpart K – ACEP-WRE Application Process and Eligibility Requirements

528.100  Overview of the Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE) Component          

528.101  Application Process Overview   

528.102  Landowner Information 

528.103  Landowner Eligibility Determination     

528.104  Ineligible Landowners   

528.105  Land Eligibility  

528.106  Ineligible Land   

528.107  Notification of Ineligibility        

Subpart L – ACEP-WRE Ranking Criteria

528.110  Overview           

528.111  Establishing ACEP-WRE Ranking Criteria         

528.112  Ranking Process

528.113  Ranking and Selection   

Subpart M – ACEP-WRE Enrollment and Acquisition

528.120  Overview           

528.121  Selection for Enrollment

528.122  Determining Easement or 30-Year Contract Compensation       

528.123  Easement Boundary Survey       

528.124  Finalizing Preliminary Investigations for Easements and 30-Year Contracts      

528.125  Easement Closing Process          

528.126  30-Year Contract Execution Process      

528.127  Records Management    

Subpart N – ACEP-WRE Restoration

528.130  Overview           

528.131  General  

528.132  Restoration Requirements          

528.133  Restoration Practices      

528.134  Preliminary and Final Wetland Reserve Plan of Operations (WRPO)     

528.135  Compliance With Other Requirements   

528.136  Design and Implementation       

Subpart O – ACEP-WRE Contract Administration

528.140  Overview           

528.141  Contracts to Implement the Wetland Reserve Plan of Operations (WRPO)        

528.142  Contract Development for WRPO Implementation        

528.143  Payments           

528.144  Modifications to the Easement Restoration Agreement  

528.145  Contract Status Review  

528.146  Cancellation and Termination of Conservation Program Contracts        

528.147  30-Year Contract Modification, Cancellation, and Termination Policy  

528.148 Converting an Existing 30-Year Easement to a Permanent Easement

Subpart P – ACEP-WRE Maintenance, Management, Monitoring, and Enforcement

528.150  Overview           

528.151  Management      

528.152  Compatible Uses

528.153  Prohibited and Non-compatible Uses     

528.154  Reserved Rights 

528.155  Operation and Maintenance

528.156  Monitoring         

528.157  Violations          

528.158  Enforcement      

528.159  Other Considerations

Subpart Q – ACEP-WRE Special Enrollment Options

528.160  Overview           

528.161  Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnerships (WREP) Enrollment

528.162  Reservation of Grazing Rights Option

 

ACEP Long-Term Easement Administration

Subpart R – ACEP Easement Subordination, Modification, Exchange, and Termination

528.170  Overview of Easement Administration Action Authority

528.171  Easement Administration Action Procedural Requirements

528.172  Infrastructure Project Requests

528.173  Minor Administrative Corrections

Subpart S – Reserved

Subpart T – ACEP Definitions

528.190  Definitions

528.191  Acronyms   
           
Subpart U – ACEP Exhibits          

528.200  ACEP Statute and Regulation

A.  ACEP Statute

Click here for subtitle H of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985.

B.  ACEP Regulation

http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NRCS-2014-0011-0001

528.201  ACEP Landowner Eligibility Forms

A.  Form CCC-941, “Adjusted Gross Income Certification and Consent to Disclosure of Tax Information”

Click here for Form CCC-941. 

      B.  Form AD-1026, “Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC)
Certification” (English and Spanish versions included)

Click here for Form AD-1026


      C.  Landowner Eligibility Matrix

Click here for the landowner eligibility matrix.

528.202  ACEP Signature Authority Documentation

A.  Form CCC-901, “Member’s Information”

Click here for Form CCC-901.

B.  Form FSA-211, “FSA-NRCS Power of Attorney”

Click here for Form FSA-211.

C.  Form NRCS-CPA-09, “NRCS Power of Attorney”

Click here for Form NRCS-CPA-09.

528.203  ACEP Onsite Evaluation Documents

A.  Landowner Disclosure Worksheet

Click here for the landowner disclosure worksheet.

B.  Form NRCS-CPA-52, “NEPA Environmental Evaluation Worksheet”

Click here for Form NRCS-CPA-52.

528.204  ACEP Hazardous Substance Examination Documents

A.  Hazardous Materials Field Inspection Checklist

Click here for a hazardous materials field inspection checklist.

B.  Hazardous Materials Landowner Interview

Click here for a hazardous materials landowner interview.

C.  All Appropriate Inquiries Worksheets 1, 2, 3

Click here for all appropriate inquiries worksheets 1, 2, and 3.

528.205  Notification of Ineligibility or Deferral for ACEP

A.   Sample ACEP Ineligibility Letter

Click here for a sample ACEP ineligibility determination letter.

B.  Sample ACEP Deferral Letter

Click here for a sample ACEP deferral letter.

528.206  ACEP Title Review and Clearance Documents

A.  Form NRCS-LTP-27, “Preliminary Certificate of Inspection and Possession”

Click here for a Form NRCS-LTP-27.

B.  Form NRCS-LTP-23, “Certificate of Use and Consent”

Click here for Form NRCS-LTP-23.

C.  Form AD-1158, “Subordination Agreement and Limited Lien Waiver”

Click here for Form AD-1158.

D.  Form NRCS-LTP-22, “Final Certificate of Inspection and Possession”

Click here for Form NRCS-LTP-22.

E.  Title Exception Guide for NRCS Conservation Easement Programs

Click here for title exception guide.

F.  Realty Terminology Desk Guide

Reserved

528.207  ACEP Easement Closing Documents

A. NRCS Closing Agent Requirements

Click here for the NRCS closing agent requirements.

B.  Example ALTA Closing Protection Letter – Single Transactions, Revised 4-2-14

Click here for an example ALTA closing protection letter.

528.208  Financial Management for ACEP

A. Easement Acquisition Internal Controls Prior to Obligation, Payment, and Closing Guidance

Click here for easement acquisition internal controls guidance.

528.209  ACEP Easement Administration Actions

A. Example Letter of State Conservationist Denial of Easement Administration Action Request to Project Proponent

Click here for example letter of State Conservationist denial of easement administration action request.

B.  Example Letter of State Conservationist Recommendation of Easement Administration Action Request to EPD Director

Click here for example State Conservationist recommendation of easement administration action letter.

C.  Addressing Proposed Infrastructure Projects Affecting NRCS Easements Pamphlet

Click here for the proposed infrastructure pamphlet.

D.  Reserved

528.210  ACEP-ALE Business Process

ACEP-ALE Business Process

Click here for a copy of the ACEP-ALE business process table.

528.211  ACEP-ALE Application Package

A.  Form NRCS-CPA-041, “Entity Application for an ALE Agreement”

http://forms.sc.egov.usda.gov/eForms/searchAction.do?pageAction=BrowseForms
           
B.  Form NRCS-CPA-041-A, “Parcel Sheet for Entity Application for an ALE Agreement”

Click here for a copy of Form NRCS-CPA-041-A. 

C.  ACEP-ALE Application Package for Submittal to State Office Checklist

Click here for the ACEP-ALE application package for submittal to State office checklist.

528.212  ACEP-ALE Eligible Entity Match Documentation

A.  ACEP-ALE Eligible Entity Match Scenarios

Click here for ACEP-ALE match scenarios.

B.  Eligible Entity Cash Contribution Requirement Waiver Request Worksheet

Click here for an eligible entity cash contribution waiver request worksheet.

C.  Sample Eligible Entity Cash Contribution Waiver Request Approval Letter

Click here for a sample eligible entity cash contribution waiver request approval letter.

D.  Sample Eligible Entity Cash Contribution Waiver Request Denial Letter

Click here for a sample eligible entity cash contribution waiver request denial letter.

528.213  ACEP-ALE Ranking Process

A.  Example ACEP-ALE Parcel Eligibility and Ranking Form

Click here for an example ACEP-ALE parcel eligibility and ranking form.

B.  Sample 2-Percent Impervious Surface Waiver Determination Worksheet

Click here for the 2-percent impervious surface waiver worksheet.

528.214  ACEP-ALE Eligible Entity Certification

A. Sample Cover Letter from an Eligible Entity Requesting Certification under ACEP-ALE

Click here for sample eligible entity certification request cover letter.

B. Sample Letter Acknowledging NRCS Receipt of an Entity Certification Request

Click here for sample NRCS receipt of entity certification request acknowledgement letter.

C. Eligible Entity Certification Request Review and Determination Checklist

Click here for eligible entity certification request review and determination checklist.

D.  Sample Letter Notifying Entity of Incomplete Certification Request Package

Click here for sample incomplete certification request package notification letter.

E.  Sample Letter Notifying Eligible Entity of Approval of Entity Request for Certification

Click here for sample eligible entity certification request approval letter.

F. Sample Letter Notifying Entity of Denial of Entity Request for Certification

Click here for sample entity certification request denial letter.

528.215  ACEP-ALE Agreements and Agreement Exhibits

A.  Cooperative Agreement with non-certified Eligible Entity Template for General ACEP-ALE Enrollments

Reserved

B.  Cooperative Agreement with Noncertified Eligible Entity Template for ACEP-ALE-GSS Enrollments

Reserved

C.  ACEP-ALE Minimum Terms for the Protection of Agricultural Use, “Minimum Deed Terms Addendum”

Click here for ACEP-ALE minimum deed terms addendum.

D.  Grant Agreement With Certified Entities on General ACEP-ALE Parcels

Click here for Grant Agreement with Certified Entities on General ACEP-ALE Parcels.

E.  Grant Agreement With Certified Entities on ACEP-ALE-GSS Parcels

Click here for Grant Agreement with Certified Entities on ACEP-ALE-GSS Parcels.

F. Agreement Attachment to List Funded and Substitute ACEP-ALE Parcels

Click here for agreement attachment to list funded and substitute parcels.

G. Form AD-3031, Representation Regarding Felony Convictions and Tax Delinquent Status for Corporate Applicants

Click here for Form AD-3031

H.  Standard Form (SF) 424, “Application for Federal Assistance”

      Click here for Form SF-424   
           
I.  SF-424A, “Budget Information Non-Construction Programs”
      Click here for Form SF-424A

J.  SF-424B, “Assurances Non-Construction Programs”
           
      Click here for Form SF-424B
           
K.   SF-425, “Federal Financial Report”
           
      Click here for Form SF-425

      528.216  ACEP-ALE Plans and Baseline Documentation

      A.  Baseline Documentation Report Example

Click here for example baseline document report.

B. Sample Agricultural Land Easement Plan – General

     Click here for a sample agricultural land easement plan – general.

C. Sample Agricultural Land Easement Plan With Component Grasslands Management Plan

Click here for a sample agricultural land easement plan – grassland management plan component.

D. Sample Agricultural Land Easement Plan With Component HEL Conservation Plan

Click here for a sample agricultural land easement plan – HEL conservation plan component.

E. Sample Agricultural Conservation Land Plan With Component Forest Land Management Plan

Click here for a sample agricultural land easement plan – forest land management plan component.

528.217  ACEP-ALE Easement Valuation and Compensation

A.  Specifications and Scope of Work for Appraisals of Real Property for ACEP-ALE

Click here for the NRCS specifications and scope of work for appraisals of real property for ACEP-ALE.

B.  Specifications and Scope of Work for Areawide Market Analysis for ACEP-ALE

Click here for the Specifications and Scope of Work for Areawide Market Analysis for ACEP-ALE

528.218  ACEP-ALE Payment Request and Approval Documentation

      A.  Form 230, “Confirmation of Matching Funds (2002 Farm Bill)”

    Click here for Form 230

B.  Form 230, “Confirmation of Matching Funds (2008 Farm Bill)”

Click here for Form 230B

C.  Form 230C, “Statement to Confirm Matching Funds (2014 Farm Bill) for General ACEP-ALE”

Click here for Form 230C for General ACEP-ALE.

D.  Form 230D, “Statement to Confirm Matching Funds (2014 Farm Bill) for ACEP-ALE Grasslands of Special Environmental Significance”

Click here for Form 230D for ACEP-ALE-GSS..

E.  Letter to the Eligible Entity Regarding NRCS Closing Agent Requirements for ACEP-ALE Advance Payments

Click here for the letter to the eligible entity regarding NRCS closing agent requirements for ACEP-ALE advance payments.

F.  SF-270, “Request for Advance or Reimbursement”

Click here for SF-270.   

G.  NRCS Supplement to the SF-270 for Noncertified Eligible Entities

Click here for the NRCS supplement to the SF-270 for noncertified eligible entities.

H.  NRCS Approval Letter for Noncertified Eligible Entity to Proceed with the ACEP-ALE Acquisition

Click here for the NRCS approval letter for a noncertified eligible entity to proceed with an ACEP-ALE acquisition.

I.  NRCS Supplement to the SF-270 for Certified Entities

Click here for the NRCS supplement to the SF-270 for certified entities.

528.219  ACEP-ALE Entity Monitoring and Enforcement

A.  Entity Monitoring Report Example

Reserved

528.220  ACEP-WRE Business Process

A.  ACEP-WRE Business Process – Easement Action Details

Click here for a copy of the easement action details.

B.  ACEP-WRE Business Process –Easement Flow Chart

Click here for a copy of the easement flow chart.

528.221  ACEP-WRE Application Package

A.  Form NRCS-CPA-1200, “Conservation Program Application”

Click here for a copy of Form NRCS-CPA-1200.

B.  Sample ACEP-WRE Information to Applicant Letter

Click here for a sample ACEP-WRE information to applicant letter.

C.  Sample ACEP-WRE Landowner Application Checklist

Click here for a sample ACEP-WRE landowner application checklist.

528.222  ACEP-WRE 24-Month Ownership Waivers

A.  Sample 24-Month Ownership and Waiver Information Letter to Landowners

Click here for a sample 24-month ownership and waiver information letter.

B.  24-Month Waiver Request Worksheet

Click here for the “24-Month Waiver Request” worksheet.

528.223  ACEP-WRE Ranking Process

A.  Sample ACEP-WRE Ranking Worksheet

Reserved for an ACEP-WRE sample ranking worksheet.

B.  ACEP-WRE Application Package for Submittal to State Office Checklist

Click here for an application package for submittal to the State office checklist.  

528.224  ACEP-WRE Selection for Enrollment

A.  Form NRCS-LTP-31, “Agreement for Purchase of a Conservation Easement”

Click here for Form NRCS-LTP-31.

B.  Form NRCS-LTP-40, “Agreement to Enter Contract for 30-Year Land Use”

Click here for Form NRCS-LTP-40.

C.  Sample Letter of Tentative Selection for ACEP-WRE (Appraisal Projects Only)

Click here for a sample letter of tentative selection for appraisal projects.

D.  Sample ACEP-WRE Offer of Easement Enrollment Letter

Click here for a sample offer of easement enrollment letter.

E.  Sample Offer of 30-Year Contract Enrollment Letter

Click here for a sample offer of 30-year contract enrollment letter.

F.  Sample Agreement for the Purchase of Conservation Easement Extension Letter

Click here for a sample APCE extension letter.

G.  Sample ACEP-WRE Agreement to Enter Contract for 30-Year Land Use Extension Letter

Click here for a sample AECLU extension letter.

H.  ACEP-WRE Agreement to Extend Existing Easement Duration

Click here for the ACEP-WRE agreement to extend existing easement duration.

528.225  ACEP-WRE Easement and 30-Year Contract Compensation

A.  Sample Fair Market Value Method Determination Note to File

Click here for a sample fair market value method determination note to file.

B.  ACEP-WRE Areawide Market Analysis Scope of Work

Click here for the ACEP-WRE areawide market analysis scope of work.

C.  ACEP-WRE Appraisal Specifications

Click here for ACEP-WRE appraisal specifications.

D.  Checklist of Items to Provide Appraiser 

Click here for a checklist of items to provide the appraiser.

E.  Sample Easement or 30-Year Contract Compensation Adjustment Document

Click here for a sample easement or contract compensation adjustment document.

528.226  ACEP-WRE Easement Boundary Surveys

A.  NRCS Easement Programs Land Survey Specifications

      Click here for the NRCS easement programs land survey specifications.

B.  APCE Supplement for Landowner to Procure Easement Boundary Survey

Click here for the APCE supplement for landowner to procure easement boundary survey.

C.  Easement Boundary Survey Field Review Memorandum to the File

Click here for an easement boundary survey field review memorandum to the file.

D.  Instructions for Digitizing and Transmitting Easement Boundaries

      Click here for instructions for digitizing and transmitting easement boundaries.

     

528.227  ACEP-WRE Easement Closing and Payment

A.  Form NRCS-LTP-30, “Warranty Easement Deed in Perpetuity”

Click here for Form NRCS-LTP-30.

B.  Form NRCS-LTP-32, “Warranty Easement Deed for a Period of 30 Years”

Click here for Form NRCS-LTP-32.

C.  Example Exhibit D, Water Rights and Water Uses

Click here for an exhibit D, water rights and water uses.

D.  OGC Preliminary and Final Title Opinion Request Package Documents List

Click here for OGC preliminary and final title opinion request package documents list.

E.  Example ACEP-WRE NRCS Closing Instructions Letter

Click here for an example of ACEP-WRE NRCS closing instructions letter.

F.  ACEP-WRE Closing Services Scope of Work

Click here for the ACEP-WRE closing services scope of work.

G.  Example FSA Notification of Easement Recording

Click here for an example FSA notification of easement recording.

528.228  ACEP-WRE 30-Year Contract Execution and Payment

A.  Form NRCS-LTP-43A, “Contract for 30-Year Land Use” (For lands Owned by Individual Indians)

Click here for Form NRCS-LTP-43A.

B.  Form NRCS-LTP-43B, “Contract for 30-Year Land Use” (For Non-Tribal-Trust Lands

Click here for Form NRCS-LTP-43B.

C.  Form NRCS-LTP-43C, “Contract for 30-Year Land Use” (For Tribal Trust Lands)

Click here for Form NRCS-LTP-43C.

D. Form NRCS-LTP-43D, “Contract for 30-Year Land Use” (For Allotted Parcels)

Click here for Form NRCS-LTP-43D.

E.  Exhibit G, “Water Uses and Water Rights” for 30-year Contracts

Click here for exhibit G.

528.229 ACEP-WRE Financial Management Guidance

A.  ACEP-WRE Easement and 30-year Contract Installment Payments

Reserved

B.  ACEP-WRE Restoration Cost Withholding for 30-Year Enrollments

Reserved

528.230  ACEP-WRE Restoration

A.  Sample Preliminary WRPO

Reserved for a sample preliminary WRPO.

B.  Sample Final WRPO

Reserved for a sample final WRPO.

C.  Example Habitat Classification Information

Reserved

528.231  Conservation Program Contract Document Package

A.  Form NRCS-CPA-1202, “Conservation Program Contract”

Click here for Form NRCS-CPA-1202.

B.  CPC Appendix (Appendix to Form NRCS-CPA-1202)

Click here for the CPC appendix.

C.  Form NRCS-CPA-1245, “Payment Application”

Click here for Form NRCS-CPA-1245.

D.  Forms NRCS-CPA-1236, “Assignment of Payment”

Click here for Form NRCS-CPA-1236

E.  Forms NRCS-CPA-1155, “Conservation Plan or Schedule of Operations”

Click here for Form NRCS-CPA-1155.

F.  Form NRCS-CPA-1156, “Revision of Plan/Schedule of Operations or Modification of a Contract”

Click here for Form NRCS-CPA-1156.

G.  Early Implementation Waiver

Click here for a sample early implementation waiver.

528.232  Cancellation and Termination of Conservation Program Contracts

A.  Sample CPC Cancellation Without Cost Recovery Letter

Click here for a sample CPC cancellation without cost recovery letter.

B.  Sample CPC Cancellation With Cost Recovery Letter

Click here for a sample CPC with cost recovery letter.

C.  Sample CPC Termination Letter

Click here for a sample CPC termination letter.

D.  Form NRCS-LTP-153, “Agreement Covering Non-Compliance with Provisions of Contract”

Click here for Form NRCS-LTP-153.

528.233  ACEP-WRE Easement Management, Maintenance, and Monitoring

A.  Form AD-1160, “Compatible Use Authorization Form”

Click here for Form AD-1160

B.  Form NRCS-CPA-13, “Contract Review Form”

Click here for Form NRCS-CPA-13.

C.  Preacquisition Crop Harvest Authorization Letter

Click here for a preacquisition crop harvest authorization letter.

D.  Sample Letter to New Landowner

Click here for a sample letter to a new landowner.

E.  Sample CUA Reminder Letter

Click here for a sample CUA reminder letter.

F.  Easement Violation Worksheet

Click here for an easement violation worksheet.

G.  Sample Easement Violation Informal Resolution Letter

Click here for a sample easement violation informal resolution letter.

H.  Sample Easement Violation Notification Letter

Click here for a sample easement violation notification letter.

I.  Sample Confirmation of Remedied Violation Letter

Click here for a sample confirmation of remedied violation letter.

J.  Sample Easement Violation Noncompliance Letter

Click here for a sample easement violation noncompliance letter..

K.  Sample Limitations to Use of ACEP-WRE Area for Mitigation Letter

Click here for a sample limitations to use of ACEP-WRE area for mitigation letter.

528.234  ACEP-WRE Special Enrollment Options

A.  WREP Partnership Agreement Template

Reserved for WREP partnership agreement template.

B.  Form NRCS-LTP-33, “Warranty Easement Deed with Reservation of Grazing Rights”

Click here for Form NRCS-LTP-33.

C.  Sample Exhibit E for ACEP-WRE Reservation of Grazing Rights Enrollment Option

Click here for a sample Exhibit E for ACEP-WRE Reservation of Grazing Rights Enrollment Option.

D.  Sample ACEP-WRE Grazing Management Plan

Reserved for sample ACEP-WRE grazing management plan.





 
     




     
    




[M_440_528 - 1st Ed., Amend. 102 - February 2016]