USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide $3.6 million in financial assistance for Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota farmers and ranchers to help conserve wetlands and improve habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife, control flooding and strengthen rural economies. The finding is available through the Water Bank Program (WBP). NRCS will accept applications from now until April 18, 2014.
“The Water Bank Program provides a unique opportunity to keep water on the land for the benefit of wildlife, such as waterfowl, while also contributing to flood control, water quality and rural economies,” said NRCS Chief Jason Weller.
Through WBP, landowners receive annual payments through a 10-year rental agreement for conserving and protecting wetlands and adjacent lands that may otherwise be used for annual crop production or other activities that require drainage. The program also helps restore upland habitat for more
than 300 species of migratory birds that rely on the Prairie Pothole region for breeding, nesting and resting.
Severe flooding of agriculture land has been a problem in this region and has affected hundreds of farmers. In 2012, landowners enrolled more than 15,000 acres into the Water Bank Program. Eligible land for this year’s WBP included flooded agricultural land, flooded hay, pasture or rangeland and
flooded private forestland.