Delaware Farmers Encouraged to Restore and Protect
Land with Conservation Easements
Application cut-off of March 15 for easement programs
Dover, Del., Jan. 23, 2013-
Delaware farmers interested in protecting and restoring
their wetlands or grasslands are encouraged to apply for financial
assistance through the federal Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) and
Grassland Reserve Program (GRP). Applicants should submit their
applications no later than March 15, 2013 to their local USDA Natural
Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office to be considered for
funding in fiscal year 2013.
The Wetlands Reserve Program provides an opportunity for
landowners to receive financial assistance to protect, restore and
enhance wetlands on their property. WRP helps to improve water quality
by filtering sediment and chemicals, recharge groundwater, and more.
Wetlands also provide food and shelter for migratory birds and other
wetland dependent species.
WRP offers landowners three enrollment options: permanent
and 30-year easements, or 10-year restoration agreements to retire wet,
marginal farmland and woodlands and restore them to their original
wetland function. The 2013 permanent easement payment rates include 100
percent of the cost of restoration and pays $3,200/acre for woodland and
$4,000/acre for cropland (in Kent and Sussex counties), and $3,200/acre
for woodland and $5,000/acre for cropland (in New Castle County). For
30-year easements, applicants may receive 75 percent of the permanent
easement value and up to 75 percent of the cost of restoration. Delaware
NRCS has enrolled nearly 600 acres in WRP through 10 conservation
easements and a restoration agreement from 2009-2012-- investing $1.7
million in enrolled acres.
The Grassland Reserve Program helps landowners restore
and protect grassland, pastureland, and certain other lands and provides
assistance for rehabilitating grasslands. GRP will protect vulnerable
grasslands from conversion to cropland or other uses.
GRP offers producers permanent easements and rental
agreements (10, 15, or 20 years). For permanent easements, USDA bases
payments on the fair market value of the property, less the grazing
value. The permanent easement payment rate for 2013 is capped at
$5,000/acre. For rental agreements, USDA pays $13.00/acre in Kent
County, $13.50/acre in New Castle County, and $15.00/acre in Sussex
County in annual payments for the length of the agreement. For
restoration agreements, USDA pays up to 50 percent of the restoration
costs on grassland and shrubland.
Applications for WRP and GRP
are accepted year-round as it is a continuous sign-up. Applications
received before March 15 will be considered first for funding;
applications received after this date will be considered for future
To participate in WRP or GRP, land offers must be
privately-owned. Landowners voluntarily limit future use of the land,
yet retain private ownership. Interested landowners are encouraged to
contact their local USDA Service Center for more information. In Sussex
County, call 302-856-3990, ext 3; in Kent County, call 302-741-2600,
ext. 3; and in New Castle County, call 302-832-3100, ext. 3. Or visit
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