NRCS Easements Protect Agricultural Lands, Wetlands and Grasslands
Applications are being accepted for three different easement programs through Feb. 28.
PHOENIX, Jan. 31, 2010 – The Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting applications though Feb. 28 for the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) and Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP).
WRP gives landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands on their property. NRCS provides technical and financial support to help landowners with their wetland restoration efforts.
WRP offers four enrollment options:
• Permanent easement: this is a conservation easement in perpetuity, and up to 100 percent of the cost of restoring the wetland are paid
• 30-Year Easement: easement payments through this option are 75 percent of what would be paid for a permanent easement. NRCS also pays up to 75 percent of restoration costs
• Restoration Cost-Share Agreement: this is an agreement (generally for a minimum of 10 years) to re-establish degraded or lost wetland habitat. NRCS pays up to 75 percent of the cost of the restoration activity. This enrollment option does not place an easement on the property.
• 30-Year Rental Agreement on Tribal trust lands – a new option in WRP.
GRP is a voluntary conservation program that emphasizes support for working grazing operations, enhancement of plant and animal biodiversity, and protection of grassland under threat of conversion to other uses.
Participants voluntarily limit future development and cropping uses of the land while retaining the right to conduct common grazing practices and operations related to the production of forage and seeding, subject to certain restrictions during nesting seasons of bird species that are in significant decline or are protected under Federal or State law. A grazing management plan is required for participants.
FRPP provides matching funds to help purchase development rights to keep productive farm and ranchland in agricultural uses. NRCS provides up to fifty percent of the appraised fair market value of the easement on the farm or ranch. At least fifty percent of the appraised fair market value of the easement must be provided by the eligible entity. Eligible entities are state, Tribal, or local governments and non-government organizations that meet specific requirements.