Funding Available to Protect and Restore Critical Wetlands in the West
Technical and financial assistance to help eligible conservation partners voluntarily protect, restore and enhance critical wetlands on agricultural lands. Restored wetlands improve water quality downstream and improve wildlife habitat, while also providing flood prevention and recreational benefits to communities.
Funding is available through the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP), part of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), a Farm Bill conservation program. The partnership is administered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the leading federal agency for wetland conservation on private lands. Through WREP, states, local units of governments, non-governmental organizations and American Indian tribes collaborate with NRCS through cooperative and partnership agreements. These partners work with tribal and private landowners who voluntarily enroll eligible land into easements to protect, restore and enhance wetlands on their properties.
Easements enable landowners to adopt a variety of conservation practices that improve the function and condition of wetlands. The voluntary nature of NRCS' easement programs enables effective integration of wetland restoration on working landscapes, providing benefits to farmers and ranchers who enroll in the program, as well as benefits to the local and rural communities where the wetlands exist.
This year, NRCS is encouraging partners to propose projects that focus on improving water quality as well as habitat on working landscapes in high-priority areas, such as in the sagebrush ecosystems of the West. $15 million is being invested in this program.
Proposals must be submitted to NRCS state offices by April 24, 2017. More information is available on the ACEP webpage.