WRP Fact Sheet - July 2007
Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)
“Benefit the Land, Secure your Future”
“I’ve spent more money fixing that levee than I’ve made off the crops..”
“A guy probably shouldn’t be farming a field if he’s got fish swimming through
“I’ve sat in the cab of my harvester and watched the yield monitor hover at 200
bushels an acre. I’ve also sat in the cab, driving through 6 inches of water,
trying to save what’s left before the flood takes it all...”
- alternatives for areas where crops are lost to high water
- increase wildlife opportunities
- ground water recharge
- improve water quality by filtering out sediment
Wetlands are unique ecosystems that offer an array of biologically diverse
plants and wildlife. They are natural areas that are often wet but may not be
wet year round. They are characterized by distinctive hydrology, soils, and
plants. Wetlands offer valuable environmental benefits as well as financial
security and alternative enterprise opportunities for landowners and
Wetland areas can be large areas, awkward sized potholes in the middle of a
field, or areas adjacent to watercourses, creeks or tributaries. Large or small,
these can be managed as wetlands, offering INCOME and SOLUTIONS for Illinois
The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) is a voluntary restoration program that
provides technical assistance to restore and improve wetland resources on
WRP helps restore, enhance or improve wetland acres. In many cases, potholes,
low-lying areas, and flood plains need minimal assistance or structural
alterations to be transformed into functional and attractive wetlands.
Small or Large -WRP Works!
Regardless of size, wetlands are a sensible solution and addition to your
operation. Even small and medium-sized sites from 20 to 200 acres that are
“meant to be” wetlands offer benefits and value. All these areas need are:
- Good planning
- Help with seeding & planting
- Simple water level controls
- Minimal long-term maintenance
WRP works–on small farms and acreages, marginal land, or wet and troublesome
areas. WRP works for Illinois landowners who need a solution to recurring crop
losses and who want to improve wildlife habitat and restore wetland functions on
their land. Wetlands and the WRP can improve your land and might offer the
financial solution or security you seek.
WRP is not just for large farms or large tracts of
land. WRP works on any kind of operation. WRP can work for YOUR operation!
WRP allows landowners to maintain the title to the land, control of access,
use for non-developed recreational activities like hunting or fishing,
nature-based tourism, and subsurface mineral rights. The contract simply
requires that uses of the land are compatible with the conservation objectives
of the plan.
Easements Made Easy
NRCS works hard to make WRP program requirements, applications, ranking
processes and timeframes MANAGEABLE.
Once a land eligibility has been made, NRCS ranks the applications to determine
which contracts can be funded. Those with higher environmental rankings are
funded first. For those, appraisals are conducted. NRCS then offers a payment to
purchase a conservation easement on the land based on its before and after
NRCS pays all acquisition costs—appraisals, surveys, title work, and recording
fees. Once all the legal work is done, NRCS’ technical staff can follow through
on restoration plans and let the wetland come alive. WRP contracts last as long
as you want—10 years without an easement, 30 years with an easement –or FOREVER!
It’s Your Decision
A WRP contract can PAY YOU for letting your land be what it was intended to
be. It’s a solution that offers economical, practical, and personal benefits.
Does WRP sound like it might fit into YOUR operation? If so, visit your county
NRCS office at the USDA Service Center to learn more.
- Turn economic burdens into opportunity
- Solve problems you have on the farm
- Improve water quality on/off the farm
- Create a home for wildlife
of Illinois Wetlands
Illinois ranks 5th in the nation for states with wetland losses and is in the
top 10% of states with the greatest overall wetland losses over the last 200
years. Illinois’ landscape was once covered with water, wetlands and forested
floodplains. Those features fed the land and gave us the productive soils we
have today. Extensive drainage systems, levees, and mass land clearing made
agricultural production possible and profitable in Illinois and across the
Midwest. Even with drainage, there are often areas on farms destined to be wet;
areas that are meant to be wetlands. As wetlands, they can solve problems for
landowners, reduce community flooding risks, and offer economic benefits from
For more information:
Call your County USDA Service Center or visit
Revised July 2007
Helping People Help the Land.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
Download Printable Fact Sheet
A printable version of this fact sheet is available in
Format 6.0 or higher.
WRP 2007 Fact Sheet
WRP-2007Factsheet.pdf (PDF, 1.2MB)