The Lorain Soil & Water Conservation District provides leadership in a partnership effort to help people conserve, maintain and improve the natural resources and environment in Lorain County.


42110 Russia Road
Elyria, OH 44035-6813
Phone: 440.326.5800
FAX: 440.326.5807

Lake Erie Conservation
Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
(Revised 2006)


In May 2000, Ohio initiated its first Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in the Lake Erie watershed. CREP is a state, federal and private partnership to enroll 67,000 acres of conservation practices (buffers strips, riparian buffers, wildlife habitat, wetlands, windbreaks) on environmentally sensitive lands in the watershed. Landowners enrolling cropland and marginal pastureland along streams and ditches will receive annual payments and cost-share from USDA. In addition, landowners may receive state bonus payments to establish, maintain and extend certain conservation practices.


Enrollment is on a continuous basis, as funding permits. Eligible land must be in portions of the Black or Vermilion River watersheds and must meet basic eligibility for the USDA Conservation Reserve Program (See CRP summary page). Once enrolled in the programs, no harvesting of crops is permitted in the CREP area.

Conservation Practices
The following practices are available for continuous enrollment through CREP:
  • Escarpment/recharge areas for establishment of grasses
  • Hardwood tree planting
  • Permanent wildlife habitat
  • Field windbreak
  • Grass buffer strips
  • Riparian buffers
  • Wetland restoration
  • Marginal pastureland

With the exception of wetlands and windbreaks, all practices will be established on cropland areas within 300 feet of a perennial stream or ditch.

Financial Incentives

CREP payments can be significantly higher then general or continuous CRP payments. Because these are high priority practices in the Lake Erie watershed, payments are 55%-125% higher then base payments under the general CRP.

As an example, river bottom fields enrolled as filter strips and planted to warm season prairie grasses can pay $175 per acre per year. The same area planted to trees will pay $225 per acre per year.

Cost share payments for establishing approved cover are generally 50% with many of the practices offering additional 40% incentive. Some practices offer one-time signing incentives of $100 per acre in addition to the cost-share. One-time bonus payments for wetlands of $500 per acres are also available.

The goal of CREP is to reduce sediment and chemical runoff to ditches, streams and Lake Erie and to improve aquatic and upland wildlife habitat and the continuation of a vibrant agricultural community and economy.


Individuals interested in the Lake Erie CREP can contact the Lorain County Farm Services Agency (FSA), Lorain Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) or NRCS at the address above.


August 24, 2017