The USDA is looking for conservation partners to leverage local investments and provide technical assistance for wetlands protection. They have allocated $15 million for this project through the Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP). This program allows state, local, non-governemtnal organization and Tribal governments to collaborate within the USDA. The goal is to increase the voluntary participation in conservation projects, especially those high-priority projects like wetland protection, restoration and enhancement.
“USDA is committed to protecting and enhancing our nation’s wetlands, which are critical to the quality of our nation’s waters, wildlife and landscapes,” said NRCS Chief Jason Weller. “We are looking to our partners for innovative project proposals so we can expand our work on critical wetlands and yield results that make project participants proud.”
Wetland reserve easements allow landowners to enhance and protect habitat for wildlife on their lands, reduce impacts from flooding, recharge groundwater and provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities. The voluntary nature of NRCS easement programs allows effective integration of wetland restoration on working landscapes, providing benefits to farmers and ranchers who enroll in the program, as well as benefits to their communities.
Proposals for this projects must be submitted to NRCS state offices by May 16, 2016. You can learn more on the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program webpage.