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WRP 2011

Wetlands Reserve Program

Sign-Up Deadline ended Jan. 28, 2011

Overview

The Wetlands Reserve Program is a voluntary program offering landowners the opportunity to protect, restore and enhance wetlands on their property. Restoring, protecting and enhancing the functions and values of wetland ecosystems remains the focus of Wetlands Reserve Program in Arkansas.

Specifically, the focus is narrowed in Arkansas to restoring bottomland hardwood forest ecosystems and improvement of water quality in the Lower Mississippi River Valley, the Arkansas River Valley and the Red River Valley, through reforestation and hydrology restoration.

Arkansas is currently ranked second in the nation in enrolled Wetlands Reserve Program acres. This equals over 200,000 active acres of Wetlands Reserve Program lands enrolled with approximately 60,000 acres of shallow water habitat created and about 140,000 acres of reforested lands.

2011 Sign Up Information

Landowners have until Jan. 28, 2011, to sign up for 2011 funding consideration through the Wetlands Reserve Program.

WRP offers permanent easements that pay 100 percent of the value of an easement and up to 100 percent of easement restoration costs, and 30-year easements that pay up to 75 percent of the value of an easement and up to 75 percent of easement restoration costs. WRP also offers restoration cost-share agreements to restore wetland functions and values without placing an easement on enrolled acres; NRCS pays up to 75 percent of restoration costs.

Accomplishments

By placing agricultural lands into Wetlands Reserve Program, the Natural Resources Conservation Service provides resting, loafing and foraging habitat for migratory waterfowl, songbirds, shorebirds, wading birds and other wetland species. 

The Natural Resources Conservation Service in Arkansas is a national leader in developing new techniques for restoring and managing wetland complexes.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service in Arkansas takes great pride in contributing to the many species of water birds observed on Wetlands Reserve Program lands. Many of these species have not been reported since the turn of the century or have never been documented in the state.

Outlook

The 2008 Farm Bill created a new goal for wetland restoration through the Wetland Reserve Program.  Adding 766,200 acres, the National goal for acres restored is now 3,041,200 acres to be restored by 2012.  This means states like Arkansas, in the Lower Mississippi River Valley, will need to average more restored acres per year than were restored in their “best year”.

The improvement of water quality as a value of wetlands and wetland restoration is an often overlooked benefit of the Wetlands Reserve Program. Enrolling large contiguous tracts of erosion-prone farmland has greatly decreased sediment in major rivers such as the White and Black rivers in central Arkansas.  WRP is a major factor in the Mississippi River Basin Initiative which is targeting nutrients in the Mississippi River and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service in Arkansas sees great potential in enrolling more acreage statewide in the Wetlands Reserve Program as the 2008 Farm Bill progresses.

Additional Information

The following documents requires Adobe Acrobat.

Special Feature: 20 Years of Restoring America’s Wetlands

More than 11,000 of America’s private landowners have voluntarily enrolled over 2.3 million acres into the Wetlands Reserve Program. The cumulative benefits of these wetlands reach well beyond their boundaries to improve watershed health, the vitality of agricultural lands, and the aesthetics and economies of local communities.

Download the commemorative publication, “Restoring America’s Wetlands: A Private Lands Conservation Success Story” (PDF, 2.2 MB) and attached references. (PDF, 24 KB)

Area Contacts

Bob Hotchkiss, (870) 741-8600, ext. 119:  Baxter, Benton, Boone, Carroll, Cleburne, Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Franklin, Fulton, Johnson, Izard, Logan, Madison, Marion, Newton, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Scott, Searcy, Sebastian, Stone, Van Buren, Washington and Yell counties

Nelson Childers, (870) 972-4671, ext. 140:  Clay, Craighead, Crittenden, Cross, Greene, Independence, Jackson, Lawrence, Mississippi, Poinsett, Randolph, Sharp, White and Woodruff counties

Rich Johnson, (501) 676-0283, ext. 110:  Lee, Lonoke, Monroe, Phillips, Prairie, and St. Francis counties

Randy Childress, (870) 777-8800, ext. 120:  Arkansas, Ashley, Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Clark, Cleveland, Columbia, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Garland, Grant, Hempstead, Hot Spring, Howard, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lincoln, Little River, Miller, Montgomery, Nevada, Ouachita, Pike, Polk, Saline, Sevier and Union counties

Last Modified: 12/16/2011