e-CFR Navigation Aids


Simple Search

Advanced Search

 — Boolean

 — Proximity


Search History

Search Tips


Latest Updates

User Info


Agency List

Incorporation By Reference

eCFR logo

Related Resources

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

We invite you to try out our new beta eCFR site at https://ecfr.federalregister.gov. We have made big changes to make the eCFR easier to use. Be sure to leave feedback using the Feedback button on the bottom right of each page!

e-CFR data is current as of March 4, 2021

Title 7Subtitle BChapter XIVSubchapter CPart 1491 → Subpart B

Title 7: Agriculture

Subpart B—Cooperative Agreements and Conservation Easement Deeds

§1491.20   Cooperative agreements.
§1491.21   Funding.
§1491.22   Conservation easement deeds.

return arrow Back to Top

§1491.20   Cooperative agreements.

(a) NRCS, on behalf of the CCC, will enter into a cooperative agreement with entities selected for funding. Once a proposal is selected by the State Conservationist, the eligible entity must work with the State Conservationist to finalize and sign the cooperative agreement, incorporating all necessary FRPP requirements. The cooperative agreement must address:

(1) The interests in land to be acquired, including the United States' right of enforcement, as well as the form and other terms and conditions of the easement deed;

(2) The management and enforcement of the rights on lands acquired with FRPP funds;

(3) The responsibilities of NRCS;

(4) The responsibilities of the eligible entity on lands acquired with FRPP funds;

(5) The allowance of parcel substitution upon mutual agreement of the parties; and

(6) Other requirements deemed necessary by NRCS to meet the purposes of this part or protect the interests of the United States.

(b) The term of cooperative agreements will be 5 years for certified entities and 3 years for other eligible entities.

(c) The cooperative agreement will include an attachment listing the parcels accepted by the State Conservationist. This list will include landowners' names and addresses, acreage, the estimated fair market value, the estimated Federal contribution, and other relevant information. The cooperative agreement template will be made available by the State Conservationist.

(d) The cooperative agreement will incorporate the provisions necessary for the eligible entity to comply with applicable registration and reporting requirements of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Pub. L. 109-282, as amended) and 2 CFR parts 25 and 170.

return arrow Back to Top

§1491.21   Funding.

(a) Subject to the statutory limits, the State Conservationist, in coordination with the eligible entity, will determine the NRCS share of the cost of purchasing a conservation easement or other interest in the land.

(b) NRCS may provide up to 50 percent of the appraised fair market value of the conservation easement consistent with §1491.4(g). An eligible entity will share in the cost of purchasing a conservation easement in accordance with the limitations of this part.

(c) A landowner may make donations toward the acquisition of the conservation easement.

(d) The eligible entity must provide a minimum of 25 percent of the purchase price of the conservation easement.

(e) FRPP funds may not be used for expenditures such as appraisals, surveys, title insurance, legal fees, costs of easement monitoring, and other related administrative and transaction costs incurred by the eligible entity.

(f) NRCS will conduct its technical and administrative review of appraisals and its hazardous materials reviews with FRPP funds.

(g) If the State Conservationist determines that the purchase of two or more conservation easements are comparable in achieving FRPP goals, the State Conservationist will not assign a higher priority to any one of these conservation easements solely on the basis of lesser cost to FRPP.

(h) Environmental Services Credits:

(1) NRCS asserts no direct or indirect interest in environmental credits that may result from or be associated with an FRPP easement;

(2) NRCS retains the authority to ensure that the requirements for FRPP-funded easements are met and maintained consistent with this part; and

(3) If activities required under an environmental credit agreement may affect land covered under a FRPP easement, landowners are encouraged to request a compatibility assessment from the eligible entity prior to entering into such agreements.

return arrow Back to Top

§1491.22   Conservation easement deeds.

(a) Under FRPP, a landowner grants an easement to an eligible entity with which NRCS has entered into an FRPP cooperative agreement. The easement will require that the easement area be maintained in accordance with FRPP goals and objectives for the term of the easement.

(b) Pending offers by an eligible entity must be for acquiring an easement in perpetuity, except where State law prohibits a permanent easement. In such cases where State law limits the term of a conservation easement, the easement term will be for the maximum allowed under State law.

(c) The eligible entity may use its own terms and conditions in the conservation easement deed, but the conservation easement deed must be reviewed and approved by National Headquarters in advance of use. Individual conservation easement deeds used by the eligible entity will be submitted to National Headquarters at least 90 days before the planned closing date. Eligible entities with multiple parcels in a cooperative agreement may submit a conservation easement deed template for review and approval. The deed templates must be reviewed and approved by National Headquarters in advance of use. For eligible entities that have not been certified, the NRCS State offices will review prior to closing the conservation easement deeds for individual parcels to ensure that they contain the same language as approved by the national office and that the appropriate site-specific information has been included. NRCS reserves the right to require additional specific language or to remove language in the conservation easement deed to protect the interests of the United States. The Chief may exercise the option to promulgate standard minimum conservation deed requirements as a condition for receiving FRPP funds.

(d) The conveyance document must include a right of enforcement clause. NRCS will specify the terms for the right of enforcement clause to read as set forth in the FRPP cooperative agreement. This right is a vested property right and cannot be condemned by State or local government.

(e) As a condition for participation, a conservation plan will be developed by NRCS in consultation with the landowner and implemented according to the FOTG. NRCS may work through the local conservation district in the development of the conservation plan. The conservation plan will be developed and managed in accordance with the 1985 Act, 7 CFR part 12 or subsequent regulations, and other requirements as determined by the State Conservationist. To ensure compliance with this conservation plan, the easement will grant to the United States, through NRCS, its successors or assigns, a right of access to the easement area.

(f) The eligible entity will acquire, hold, manage, and enforce the easement. The eligible entity may have the option to enter into an agreement with governmental or private organizations to carry out easement stewardship responsibilities.

(g) NRCS will sign an acceptance of the conservation easement, concurring with the terms of the conservation easement and accepting its interest in the conservation easement deed.

(h) All conservation easement deeds acquired with FRPP funds must be recorded. Proof of recordation will be provided to NRCS by the eligible entity.

(i) Impervious surfaces will not exceed 2 percent of the FRPP easement area, excluding NRCS-approved conservation practices. The State Conservationist may waive the 2 percent impervious surface limitation on a parcel-by-parcel basis, provided that no more than 10 percent of the easement area is covered by impervious surfaces. Before waiving the 2 percent limitation, the State Conservationist must consider, at a minimum, population density, the ratio of open prime other important farmland versus impervious surfaces on the easement area, the impact to water quality concerns in the area, the type of agricultural operation, and parcel size. Eligible entities may submit an impervious surface limitation waiver process to the State Conservationist for review and consideration. The eligible entities must apply approved impervious surface limitation waiver processes on a parcel-by-parcel basis. State Conservationists will not approve blanket waivers of the impervious surface limitation for all parcels administered by the eligible entity without regard for the characteristics of individual parcels. All FRPP easements must include language limiting the amount of impervious surfaces within the easement area.

(j) The conservation easement deed must include an indemnification clause requiring the landowner to indemnify and hold harmless the United States from any liability arising from or related to the property enrolled in FRPP.

(k) The conservation easement deed must include an amendment clause requiring that any changes to the easement deed after its recordation must be consistent with the purposes of the conservation easement and this part. The conservation easement deed must require that NRCS approve any substantive amendment.

return arrow Back to Top

Need assistance?