2 Bridgman_Fall 15-10-01 (21)_edited.jpg


A Voluntary Program with Benefits for Landowners and the Environment


CREP pays landowners to establish buffers of native trees and shrubs along fish bearing streams and rivers.

While the main objective of the program is to restore and protect critical fish habitat, other benefits are achieved. Riparian buffers provide habitat and travel corridors for a wide range of wildlife. Buffers of native vegetation help protect water quality, stabilize stream banks, reduce erosion, create shade that lowers water temperature, and provide attractive borders for privacy and protection.


The program pays all the expenses to establish the buffer, in addition to annual rental payments and other benefits to the landowner. 

CREP pays to remove invasive plants such as reed canarygrass and Himalayan blackberry. Reed canarygrass and Himalayan blackberry do not provide beneficial riparian functions, and their rapid growth often replaces the native plants that comprise a healthy riparian zone. The program will also pay to fence livestock out of the buffer and for off-channel livestock watering alternatives.

Buffer design is flexible.

Resource specialists work with each landowner to develop a project plan that meets their objectives. The width of the buffer next to the stream or river may vary from 50 to 180 feet.  CREP also plants hedgerows.  Landowners may elect to enroll only a portion of their stream or river frontage or only one side.

CREP is a partnership between the State and Federal Governments.
The program is administered by USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). Whatcom Conservation District, under Washington State funding, provides the technical support and project planning. Land is enrolled in CREP under either a 10 or 15 year agreement.

Ask for a No-Obligation Site Assessment.
A Whatcom Conservation District Resource Specialist will visit your property to make a no-obligation site assessment. The Resource Specialist will discuss buffer design options and provide estimates of the rental rate and the signing bonus.  The site assessment is also a good opportunity for questions and answers about the program and site-specific issues. Please contact the Whatcom Conservation District to schedule a site assessment.

If you would like to Submit an Application

To submit a CREP application, please contact the Whatcom Conservation District. There is no obligations with submitting a CREP application. CREP project planning and approval can take five months or more and during that time, landowners may withdraw without obligation. The landowner CREP agreement is the final step in the planning process. Your CREP application just initiates the planning process.


CREP Project Progression Photos
CREP Wildlife



Number of Projects


Miles of Buffer


Seedlings Planted


Acres Planted
Use the scroll bar at right to scroll through the below story map or open it here