The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is making $15 million in financial and technical assistance available nationwide to help eligible conservation partners voluntarily protect, restore, and enhance critical wetlands on private and tribal agricultural lands.
Funding will be provided through the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP). Under WREP, states, local units of governments, non-governmental organizations, and American Indian tribes collaborate with USDA through cooperative and partnership agreements. These partners work with willing tribal and private landowners who voluntarily enroll eligible land into easements to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands on their properties.
Proposals must be submitted to NRCS field offices by May 16, 2016. “NRCS 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 Eric B. Banks, Kansas State Conservationist. Projects can range from individual to watershed-wide to ecosystem-wide. The voluntary nature of NRCS’s 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 the local and rural communities where the wetlands exist. Banks stated Kansas has a total of 238 wetland easements encompassing 25,291 acres.
Through WREP, NRCS will sign multi-year agreements with partners to leverage resources including funding. WREP partners are required to contribute a funding match for financial or technical assistance. These partners work directly with eligible landowners interested in enrolling their agricultural land into conservation wetland easements.
Contact your local NRCS office or conservation district office located at your local county USDA Service Center (listed on the internet at offices.usda.gov) for assistance. More information is also available on the Kansas Web site at www.ks.nrcs.usda.gov. Follow us on Twitter @NRCS_Kansas. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.