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Wetlands Reserve Program

Staff Contact:

Interested agricultural producers should contact their local Louisiana NRCS field office.

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 extended Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) authorization for fiscal year 2013. States can now accept new applications for WRP; however funding for enrolling new applications into the program is currently pending. Current enrollments will continue to be processed.

New! NRCS ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR WETLANDS RESERVE PROGRAM - News Release

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. The NRCS goal is to achieve the greatest wetland functions and values, along with optimum wildlife habitat, on every acre enrolled in the program. This program offers landowners an opportunity to establish long-term conservation and wildlife practices and protection.

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.

Easement compensation is based off of the Geographic Area Rate Cap (GARC). Permanent easements will receive 100% of the value, while 30 year easements will receive 75% of the value. Below is the current Louisiana GARC:
 

Click on map for full screen version in PDF format which requires Adobe Acrobat.

FY-2013 WRP GARC Zones

2013 WRP Practice Cost List

The document below requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

To be eligible for WRP, land must be restorable and be suitable for wildlife benefits. Lands eligible for WRP are 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 which link protected wetlands; lands adjacent to protected wetlands that contribute significantly to wetland functions and values; and 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.

The application process for WRP is continuous throughout the year. NRCS is committed to delivering all Farm Bill programs authorized through the 2008 Farm Bill and is eager to consult with all interested parties about the many benefits that the WRP may offer.
 

Restoration Agreement Ranking Sheets

May is American Wetlands Month

WRP Success Story – Wet Feet in Sabine Parish

Sabine Parish Cattle ProducerLooking to increase his grazing land, Sabine Parish cattle producer Conrad Cathey bought a 105-acre tract of land near Many, Louisiana. He moved his cattle to his new pastures only to discover the land was too wet the majority of the year to be suitable for grazing.

“Water was up to my hip at certain times of the year,” said Cathey. “There was no way to make it work—wet feet and cows don’t mix.”

After moving his cattle from his new pastures, he was stumped as to what to do with the land—until he heard about NRCS’ Wetlands Reserve Program.

“It was just a stroke of luck,” said Cathey. “I was listening to the radio one day and heard about the Wetlands Reserve Program. It seemed a natural fit.”

...More Info

 

Additional information and application forms can be obtained by contacting your local Louisiana NRCS field office or the National WRP Website.