NB_300_22_32 - NB 300-22-32 LTP – Water Bank Program (WBP) – Fiscal Year (FY) 2022
NB 300-22-32 LTP – Water Bank Program (WBP) – Fiscal Year (FY) 2022
National Bulletin: 300-22-32  
Date: May 5, 2022 
Subject: LTP – Water Bank Program (WBP) – Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 


Action Required By:   September 30, 2022  
 
Purpose.   To provide State Conservationists (STCs) in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota with guidance for administering the FY 2022 WBP.     
 
Expiration Date.   September 30, 2022  
 
Background.   The purpose of WBP is to preserve and improve major wetlands as habitat for migratory waterfowl and other wildlife, conserve surface waters, reduce runoff and soil and wind erosion, contribute to flood control, improve water quality, improve subsurface moisture, and enhance the natural beauty of the landscape.        
 
Explanation.   In FY 2022, Congress appropriated $4 million to fund the WBP in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. A portion of these funds will be distributed to these States to be utilized for technical assistance funds.

To support the FY 2022 implementation of WBP, STCs must do the following:

A.  Advertise and conduct a signup upon receipt of this national bulletin.

B.  The National Easement Staging Tool (NEST) is the system of record for WBP data.  Each State is required to enter all applicable data in NEST by the close of business, June 24, 2022. Unfunded prior-year applications that have been rolled over may be considered to receive FY 2022 funding if eligibility criteria are met. This information will be analyzed, and financial assistance (FA) allocations will be made to States based upon the provided NEST application data.

 

C.  States must follow NB 300-22-25 for obligating funds to agreements by the close of business, September 28, 2022.

 

D.  States will make FY 2022 agreement rental payments by the close of business, November 21, 2022.

E.  States will refer to the implementation guidance for participant and land eligibility, program participant requirements, the conservation plan of operations, and annual status review guidance. The Water Bank ranking criteria is contained in NI 440-310, Exhibit BI and BJ.

F.  The WBP will be administered following policy in Title 120, General Manual, Part 404 “Land Treatment Long-Term Contracting.” The WBP is neither a Farm Bill program nor is it administered through ProTracts; therefore, policy and procedures contained within Title 440 Programs, Part 530, Working Lands Conservation Programs Manual, do not apply. These WBP funds are NRCS funds.

G.  States must keep NEST data accurate and up-to-date as projects progress through the enrollment process. States must enter all applicable application and agreement data into NEST prior to the end-of-year NEST maintenance period. At a minimum, States should enter all data related to actions occurring in any quarter prior to the end of the quarter in which the action occurred.

H.  The forms to be used for WBP are attached.


Contact.   If you have any questions, contact Ronnie Maurer at ronnie.maurer@usda.gov or Dave Mason at david.mason@usda.gov.    
 
 

 /s/

  CLINT EVANS  
  Acting Deputy Chief for Programs  

 
 
Attachment A - Implementation Guidance
Attachment B - WBP Fact Sheet
Attachment C - AD-1153 - Application for Long-Term Contracted Assistance Through ______ Program
Attachment D - AD-1154 - Long Term Agreement
Attachment E - AD-1155 - Conservation Plan Schedule of Operations
Attachment F - AD-1155A - Conservation Plan Schedule of Operations
Attachment G - AD-1156 - Revision of Plan or Schedule of Operations or Modification of a Contract
Attachment H - AD-1161 - Application for Payment
Attachment I - NRCS-LTP-13 – Status Review
Attachment J - WBP General Provisions
Attachment K - WBP Special Provisions    
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