Diane Baedeker Petit, Public Affairs Officer
413-253-4371, cell 413-835-1276
USDA announces next cut-off date for Wetlands Reserve Program
AMHERST, Mass. (June 4, 2013) – The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting applications from landowners interested in the Wetlands Reserve Program, which helps landowners restore and protect wetland ecosystems on private and tribal lands.
A new round of federal funding authorizes $255 million to enroll up to 100,000 additional acres into WRP nationwide. Landowners may select a permanent or 30-year easement or a restoration cost-share agreement, retaining ownership of the land once the agreement is in place.
Landowners interested in this voluntary program should contact their local NRCS office as soon as possible. Applications are accepted throughout the year but to be considered for current available funding, please apply by June 14th.
To apply, visit your local USDA Service Center; locations are listed on-line at http://offices.usda.govor in the phone book under Federal Government, U.S. Department of Agriculture. General program information is available on the NRCS Massachusetts website at www.ma.nrcs.usda.gov.
“The benefits of these reserved wetlands reach well beyond their boundaries to improve watershed health, the vitality of agricultural lands, as well as the aesthetics and economies of local communities,” said Christine Clarke, NRCS State Conservationist for Massachusetts.
NRCS works with landowners across the nation through conservation planning and provides technical and financial assistance designed to benefit the soil, water, air, plants, and animals that result in productive lands and healthy ecosystems. In Massachusetts, NRCS has offices in Greenfield, Hadley, Holden, Hyannis, Pittsfield, Westford, and West Wareham, which work with local conservation districts and other partners to serve farmers and landowners throughout the commonwealth.