In this study, we explored factors that influence landowner participation in the Colorado Republican River Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), a state-​federal program designed to retire irrigated land from agricultural production to improve environmental conditions and reduce water use.

We found that offering landowners financial incentives has a significant impact on enrollment rates. We predicted participation in the program to increase by 0.087 percentage points with a $10 increase in the incentives offered per acre.

In addition, landowners with wells over areas with less saturated thickness that irrigate less productive land are more likely to be enrolled in the program. This suggests that the program is likely not reducing groundwater use to the same extent as it might if participants has average or higher levels of saturated thickness.

Publication: Monger, R., J.F. Suter, D.T. Manning, J.P. Schneekloth (2018). Retiring Land to Save Water: Participation in Colorado’s Republican River Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program. Land Economics 94(1): 36-​51.

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