Environmental Defense began analyzing USDA implementation of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) in 2002 and has continued to analyze State procedures adopted in 2003 to implement the final EQIP rule. As part of this analysis, I helped Environmental Defense develop a paper summarizinging the analyses, a set of BMPs on how to create effective EQIP ranking processes and critiera, a series of model ranking templates, and some presentations to explain the approach. For more information, contact Ralph Heimlich (301-498-0722, aceheimlich@comcast.net) or Suzy Friedman (202-572-3376, sfriedman@environmentaldefense.org)

Summary of the Analyses

Best Management Practices for Ranking:

Proposed EQIP Model Ranking Templates (Excel spreadsheets): The templates are a blueprint for effective ranking mechanics we hope will be useful to States and Districts as they implement EQIP in 2004 and beyond. The templates should help NRCS to focus their time on the important task of identifying and prioritizing resource concerns and implementing EQIP projects instead of spending significant time struggling with getting ranking mechanics right. The templates:

The templates offer a starting point for adaptation by States or District to their prioirity resource concerns and particular situation, and can be adapted for resource concerns other than the ones illustrated here. The templates are a work in progress. We welcome feedback and suggestions on how they can be further improved.

Included below are a series of model ranking templates, ranking cover sheets, and test cases using the ranking templates.

General Water Quality ranking (252 Kbytes)

Water Quality from Manure Management ranking (98 Kbytes)

General Rangeland ranking (326 Kbytes)

Riparian Rangeland ranking (323 Kbytes)

General Forestland ranking (74 Kbytes)

Long-Leaf Pine Forestland ranking (78 Kbytes)

General Wildlife ranking (75 Kbytes)

Bog Turtle Wildlife ranking (75 Kbytes)

Water Conservation ranking (60 Kbytes)

Proposed EQIP Model Ranking cover sheets (Acrobat files): These are simplified cover sheets for recording the points developed on the ranking templates.

Model Ranking Template Testing: These are summaries and test cases developed to understand how the model ranking templates perform under a variety of circumstances. They are in .zip archives to make downloading easier. To view and use, save the .zip archive, open it with WINZIP or a similar utility, and extract the files to a directory of your choice. Tested examples will be added as they are complete.

Power Point presentations: We developed three versions of a presentation that explain how and why the ranking templates were developed. You can click on these to view the presentation through the web. To download a .zip archive, click on the links below, download and save the .zip file, open it with WINZIP or a similar utility, and extract the files to a directory of your choice.

Contact: Ralph Heimlich aceheimlich@comcast.net