Oregon's Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program : likely participation and recommendations for implementation Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/bg257j43h

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  • This study used contingent valuation techniques to model the probability of participation in Oregon's CREP as a function of the incentive payment and a vector of socio-economic variables. Possible reasons for non-participation were evaluated and landowner preferences for various program components were assessed. Recommendations for program improvement and implementation were made. A population of riparian landowners along 5 streams in Union County and 6 streams in Washington County was surveyed with a mail questionnaire. The overall response rate was 63.7% and data was analyzed from a total of 290 respondents who identified eligible land for Oregon's CREP. Separate willingness to participate models were estimated for irrigators and dry land operators. Statistical results indicate that although annual payment positively influences the participation decision in most instances, it is not a driving factor. Perception of an environmental issue appears to be the most significant factor contributing to participation for irrigators; the relationship is the same for non-irrigators but not significant. The cost-share available and concerns regarding neighboring landowner acceptance are factors contributing to participation decision of non-irrigators. Estimated mean willingness to accept for both of the counties appears to be at the high end of (or exceeds) the values currently being offered by the Farm Service Agency for dry land participants in Oregon's CREP. Estimates from an alternative model excluding "protest no's" appear to more closely reflect the annual payments currently being offered to the dry land riparian landowners. The non-participation decision is largely a matter of concern over restrictions at the end of the contract, flexibility to change land use as economic conditions warrant and a belief that riparian ecosystems can be restored with proper management. Results indicate that landowners are interested in special signing bonuses and moderately interested in leasing irrigation water to the State to increase in-stream flow. Recommendations for improving the program include increasing the flexibility, expanding the program to other land uses, clarifying the "end of contract" obligations, and changing the way the program is "sold" to potential landowners.
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