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Wetland Reserve Easements

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program

Wetland Reserve Easements

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and wetlands and their related benefits.  A component of this program is the Wetlands Reserve Easements component in which NRCS helps to restore, protect and enhance enrolled wetlands.

NRCS provides technical and financial assistance directly to private landowners and Indian tribes to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands through the purchase of a wetland reserve easement. For acreage owned by an Indian tribe, there is an additional enrollment option of a 30-year contract.

Through the wetland reserve enrollment options, NRCS may enroll eligible land through:

  • • Permanent Easements are conservation easements in perpetuity. NRCS pays 100 percent of the easement value for the purchase of the easement, and between 75 to 100 percent of the restoration costs.
  • • 30-Year Easements expire after 30 years. Under 30-year easements, NRCS pays 50 to 75 percent of the easement value for the purchase of the easement, and between 50 to 75 percent of the restoration costs.
  • • Term Easements are easements that are for the maximum duration allowed under applicable state laws. NRCS pays 50 to 75 percent of the easement value for the purchase of the term easement and between 50 to 75 percent of the restoration costs.
  • • 30-year Contracts are only available to enroll acreage owned by Indian tribes. Program payment rates are commensurate with 30-year easements.

For wetland reserve easements, NRCS pays all costs associated with recording the easement in the local land records office, including recording fees, charges for abstracts, survey and appraisal fees, and title insurance.

Eligibility

Land eligible for wetland reserve easements includes farmed or converted wetland that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored. NRCS will prioritize applications based on the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.

To enroll land through wetland reserve easements, NRCS enters into purchase agreements with eligible private landowners or Indian tribes that include the right for NRCS to develop and implement a wetland reserve restoration easement plan. This plan restores, protects, and enhances the wetland’s functions and values.

How to apply

  • Wetland reserve easements - landowners may apply at any time at a local USDA Service Center.

Application Documents for ACEP-WRE for 2014:

Application Checklist for ACEP WRE FY14 (PDF)

Geographic Area Rate Cap (GARC) for ACEP WRE FY2014 (PDF)

GARC Payment Reduction Waiver for ACEP WRE FY14 (PDF)

Preliminary Wetlands Restoration Plan for ACEP WRE FY14 (PDF)

Ranking for ACEP WRE FY14 (PDF)

For more information, contact local NRCS office  or:

SHARON HOLBROOKS
Conservation Easement Specialist
(706) 546- 2272