Wetland Reserve Program and Wetland Reserve Enhancement Program Extend Deadline for Fiscal Year 2013 Funding
Christy Morgan, Acting Public Affairs Specialist
Lexington, KY 5-23-13—Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Karen Woodrich announced today that legislation has passed to reauthorize funding for the Wetland Reserve Program (WRP). This late authorization allows funding for additional enrollments into both the WRP and Wetland Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP). Applications are currently being accepted, with the next scheduled ranking cutoff date of June 21, 2013. Applications received after that date will be evaluated for the next funding cycle.
WRP and WREP help private landowners protect, restore and enhance wetlands. Wetlands benefit migratory birds, other wildlife and plants, including species of concern and those that are listed on state and federal lists of threatened and endangered species.
The program also helps restore active floodplains along creeks and rivers, aids in flood control and improves water quality by restoring environmentally sensitive, frequently flooded cropland back to permanent vegetation.
Woodrich said, “The program has led to cleaner water, aesthetic open spaces and abundant habitat for wildlife. Kentucky will continue to benefit from WRP as more land is restored to natural wetland areas.”
When a property is enrolled in WRP, the landowner retains ownership, while agreeing to restore and manage a certain portion of the land as wetlands. Program participants voluntarily restrict agricultural and other activities for compatibility with the wetland management, but retain title, quiet enjoyment, recreational uses, access control and water rights not necessary for wetland management. NRCS provides compensation to the landowner for the rights to restore the land restoration costs.
Since 1992, 11,000 landowners have voluntarily restored 2.3 million acres of wetlands through WRP. 23,000 acres of those wetlands are in Kentucky.
To find out more about enrolling in WRP or WREP, contact your local NRCS office or visit www.ky.nrcs.usda.gov.
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