USDA Announces $15 Million Available to Protect and Enhance Agricultural Wetlands

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made up to $15 million available for conservation partnerships that provide technical and financial assistance for on-farm wetland conservation in fiscal year (FY) 2017. These funds are made available through the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP), a key component of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).

Through WREP, NRCS collaborates with states, local government offices, non-profit organizations, and American Indian tribes to help landowners preserve and enhance wetlands on their property. Potential partners may submit WREP proposals for an individual landowner project, watershed, or geographic area. Once NRCS selects a partner’s proposal, interested landowners within the selected project area will submit an application directly to NRCS for participation. Individual landowner applications will be evaluated and ranked among other applicants in the WREP project area.

In this year’s announcement, NRCS noted that it will pay particular attention to projects seeking to improve water quality, as well as those that seek to preserve and protect wildlife habitats on working land in priority areas (e.g., the Chesapeake Bay). Project proposals must be submitted to appropriate NRCS state offices by April 24, 2017 to be considered for the FY 2017 applicant pool.

Full program background and eligibility information can be found here.