NB_300_23_5 - NB 300-23-5 LTP – Easement Cost List Creation for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023
NB 300-23-5 LTP – Easement Cost List Creation for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023
National Bulletin: 300-23-5 Date: November 2, 2022
Subject: LTP – Easement Cost List Creation for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023


Action Required By:  December 2, 2022
 
Purpose.  To provide State conservationists and directors guidance for the development of cost lists in Conservation Desktop (CD) to implement the following programs:

  • Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) and Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE) components of Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)
  • Emergency Watershed Protection Program – Floodplain Easements (EWPP-FPE)
  • Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP)
  • 2014 Farm Bill Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP14) covered programs for fiscal year (FY) 2022
  • 2018 Farm Bill Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP18) Entity-held easements and US-held Easements
  • Grassland Reserve Program (GRP); and Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)
 
Expiration Date.  September 30, 2023
 
Background.  In FY 2023, easement program applications, practice repairs, or maintenance activities must be planned in CD. To develop the agreement items, a cost list for each easement program must be developed and uploaded into CD for agreements managed outside of ProTracts. 
 
Explanation.  Cost lists for all easement programs managed outside of ProTracts must be created in CD. The cost lists must include the appropriate conservation practices and appropriate L-type practices based on the easement program and the enrollment type. The L-type practices include the easement acquisition and long-term protection of land practices which planned through the Conservation Assessment Ranking Tool to support the enrollment of the easement. Attachment A to this bulletin provides the list of L-type practices and related information including the practice unit, cost type, and cost share rate.

The State user must have one of the following CD-FA State Business Tools Coordinator or Toolkit State Role Grantor from z-roles to create or edit a statewide cost list in CD. Staff with responsibility for Easement Program Delivery should coordinate with State Business Tools and State Resource Conservation/Engineering staff to ensure easement cost lists are developed that meet policy and are ready for planners to utilize in CD.

The current regional payment schedules can be used to start building the conservation practice portion of the cost lists; however, any practice that contains foregone income must have this component of the cost removed. The costs for the easement acquisition practices can be developed using the established national Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPA) for environmental database records searches and appraisal technical reviewers, State-specific BPA, agreements or other contracting mechanisms, or historical knowledge from past awards. The BPA rates for FY 2023 are included in Attachment A, List of Easement Practices and Blanket Purchase Agreement rates for FY 2023. The BPA dates may be added to the component description or States may create cost lists with different start and end dates based on the BPA.

The cost type and cost share rate must be provided for each practice included in the cost list and these will vary by practice type. The long-term protection practices must have the cost type of actual not-to-exceed maximum amount (AM) and a cost share rate that aligns with the enrollment type and term (e.g., 100% for permanent easements). The easement acquisition practices must have the cost type of Non-Participant (NP) with a cost share rate of 100% to document the NRCS expenditures required to implement the easement, refer to attachment A “List of Easement Practices and Blanket Purchase Agreement rates for FY 2023” for the complete list. The practices required to implement restoration must also be included and these conservation practices will have a cost type of AM with a cost share rate of 100% to document the full restoration costs for implementation. These costs may be split between NRCS and the landowners dependent on enrollment type. The cost type of no-cost (NC) with a cost share rate of 0% may be included for management practices to document the long-term management practices needed to maintain the restoration and habitat.

The following new easement practices have been created for use during the acquisition process:

  • Acquisition Process - Buy-Protect-Sell Transfer (LTAPBPST): A transfer of the fee title ownership to a qualified farmer or rancher under a post-closing Buy-Protect-Sell transaction.
  • Acquisition Process - Ingress Egress (LTAPIE): An ingress-egress location of the proposed easement area.
  • Acquisition Process - Baseline (Documentation) Report (LTAPBLR): A baseline report of the proposed easement area.
States must activate these new acquisition process easement practices in Conservation Practice Data Entry System (CPDES) for use in CD as follows:

  • The LTAPBPST must be included in the ACEP-ALE and RCPP18 entity-held easement cost lists. This practice will have a non-cost (NC) cost type and must be planned on a single land unit in a proposed easement that will utilize the Buy-Protect-Sell transaction type. This practice must be scheduled and remain open until the fee title ownership of the land is transferred to the qualified farmer or rancher (see NI 300-308 for specific guidance on requirements that must be met before this practice can be marked as completed).
  • The LTAPIE practice must be included in every easement program cost list for new enrollments. This practice will have an NC cost type and must be planned for every proposed easement. This practice is used to document the ingress-egress route to the easement area (polygon) as mapped in the easement boundary survey for easements held by the United States such as ACEP-WRE, HFRP, RCPP18 US-held easements or from an easement survey or map provided by the eligible entity for ACEP-ALE, RCPP18 Entity-held easements.
  • The LTAPBLR practice must be included in the RCPP18 US-held easement and HFRP easement cost lists. This practice will have an NC cost type when NRCS staff is developing the baseline documentation report or a non-participant payment (NP) cost type when NRCS procures the baseline documentation report from a qualified vendor.

States must create the following easement programs cost lists, if applicable, for FY 2023:

  • ACEP-ALE: States must create these for any prior year ALE Cooperative or Grant agreements, managed outside of ProTracts, that may have a parcel substitution request. The cost list must include the appropriate easement practices from attachment A. ACEP-ALE parcel contracts managed in ProTracts must use payment schedules selected in ProTracts.
  • ACEP-WRE: States must populate easement practices and all conservation practices necessary to implement restoration, repairs, or enhancements. The cost list must include the appropriate easement practices from attachment A.
  • EWPP-FPE: States must populate easement practices and all conservation practices necessary to implement restoration or repairs. The cost list must include the appropriate easement practices from attachment A.
  • HFRP: States must populate restoration contract and all conservation practices necessary to implement restoration. The cost list must include the appropriate easement practices, including LTP10YC, from attachment A.
  • 2014 Farm Bill RCPP (Covered Programs RCPP ACEP or RCPP HFRP): States must populate easement practices and all conservation practices necessary to implement restoration, if applicable. The cost list must include the appropriate easement practices from attachment A.
  • 2018 Farm Bill RCPP (RCPP18) Entity-held Easements: The cost list must include the appropriate easement practices from attachment A.
  • 2018 Farm Bill RCPP (RCPP18) US-held Easements: In a single cost list, States must populate easement practices and the conservation practices (from the US-held easement land management practice list) that NRCS may require to implement restoration on highly or moderately restrictive US-held easements. The cost list must include the appropriate easement practices from attachment A. Payments for conservation practices from the land management practice list for US-held easements may be up to 100% of the actual installation costs.
  • GRP: Cost lists for GRP must include any conservation practices necessary and appropriate for the repair, management, and maintenance of the habitat.
  • WRP: Cost lists for WRP must include any conservation practices necessary and appropriate for the repair, management, and maintenance of the habitat.

Attachment B, “Cost List Template,” may be used to develop the program cost list and import into CD. A cost list training was provided on September 19, 2019, as part of the CD/CART Pretraining webinars. The recording is available on CD SharePoint at: Cost List Training Link. Attachment C, “Lesson Plan: Create a New Cost List in Conservation Desktop,” provides steps to create the cost list in CD. Additional training to address common issues found during quality assurance is also available on the Easement Programs Division SharePoint site at: Cost List Findings Training Link.
 
Contact.  For questions related to the cost list development or review, contact Monica Wymer, Natural Resources Specialist, at monica.wymer@usda.gov.
 
 

 /s/

KAREN WOODRICH
Acting Deputy Chief for Programs


 
 
Attachment A – List of FY 2023 Easement Practices and Blanket Purchase Agreement Rates
Attachment B – Cost List Template
Attachment C – Lesson Plan: Create a New Cost List in Conservation Desktop
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