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Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)

 

Easement Program Funding Expiration - Update

The Agricultural Act of 2014 establishes the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).

It repeals FRPP, GRP, and WRP but does not affect the validity or terms of any FRPP, GRP, or WRP contract, agreement or easement entered into prior to the date of enactment on February 7, 2014 or any associated payments required to be made in connection with an existing FRPP, GRP, or WRP contract, agreement or easement.  

For more information on ACEP, please visit the ACEP web page.

Introduction

The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) is a voluntary program offering landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands on their property. 

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides technical and financial support to help landowners with their wetland restoration efforts. 

This program offers landowners an opportunity to establish long-term conservation and wildlife practices and protection.

The goal of NRCS is to achieve the greatest wetland functions and values, along with optimum wildlife habitat, on every acre enrolled in the program.  

Lands eligible for WRP:

  • Wetlands farmed under natural conditions
  • Farmed wetlands
  • Prior converted cropland
  • Farmed wetland pasture
  • Certain lands that have the potential to become a wetland as a result of flooding
  • Rangeland, pasture, or forest production lands where the hydrology has been significantly degraded and can be restored
  • Riparian areas that link protected wetlands
  • Lands adjacent to protected wetlands that contribute significantly to wetland functions and values
  • Wetlands previously restored under a local, State, or Federal Program that need long-term protection

Lands established to trees through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) are ineligible for WRP enrollment.

NRCS is committed to delivering all Farm Bill programs authorized through the 2008 Farm Bill and is eager to discuss with all interested parties about the many benefits that the WRP may offer.

Enrollment Options

  • Permanent Easement: A conservation easement in perpetuity. USDA pays 100 percent of the easement value and up to 100 percent of the restoration costs.
  • 30-Year Easement: An easement that expires after 30 years. USDA pays up to 75 percent of the easement value and up to 75 percent of the restoration costs.
  • Restoration Cost-Share Agreement: An agreement to restore or enhance the wetland functions and values without placing an easement on the enrolled acres. USDA pays up to 75 percent of the restoration costs.
  • 30-Year Contract: A 30-year contract option is only available on tribal lands. USDA pays up to 75 percent of the restoration costs.

Under the easement options the USDA will pay 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. Under the voluntary easement the landowner retains the rights to: (1) control of access, (2) title and right to convey title, (3) quiet enjoyment, (4) undeveloped recreational uses, (5) subsurface resources, and (6) water rights.

Get specific information about Kentucky's Wetland Reserve Program (Click here)

Wetlands Month Article by Jacob Kuhn, Assistant State Conservationist for Natural Resource Planning