NRCS Funding Available To Restore Wetlands - UNL CropWatch, May 13, 2011

NRCS Funding Available To Restore Wetlands - UNL CropWatch, May 13, 2011

May 13, 2011

Applications are currently being accepted from landowners interested in restoring wetlands on their property through the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP). Landowners may apply for funding at their local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office.

The Wetlands Reserve Program is a voluntary program that helps restore wetlands. NRCS provides farmers and ranchers technical and financial assistance to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands on their property. The program offers payments for wetlands and associated uplands that have been degraded or converted to agricultural uses.

Craig Derickson, NRCS state conservationist, said, “Spring is a great time for landowners to determine if there are any wetlands on their property. Often, wetland acres are far less productive cropland, and WRP can help relieve the burden of trying to farm marginal lands by providing an economic gain to the landowner through a conservation easement or agreement.”

Several easement and agreement options are available through the program. Landowners can enroll their land into a permanent or 30-year easement, or a 10-year restoration agreement. In either case, landowners retain control of access and ownership of the property.

“Landowners can still use the land for hunting, bird watching, and in some cases, grazing. There are several activities allowed if they are consistent with the long-term protection and enhancement of the wetland,” Derickson said.

Nationwide, more that 2 million acres are enrolled in the program. In Nebraska, over 630 landowners have enrolled more than 87,000 acres. These wetlands provide wildlife habitat, improve water quality, and reduce flooding.

“Landowners and operators interested in wetland restoration should visit their local NRCS field office. Applications for WRP are accepted at anytime, but funding will be distributed to the highest ranked applications soon,” Derickson said.

More information on restoring a wetland through WRP is available at www.ne.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/ or at any NRCS office in a USDA Service Center.

NRCS News Release