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WREP Assistance| Missouri NRCS

Missouri River Floodplain Farmers Eligible for Wetland Restoration Assistance

Missouri landowners affected by 2011 Missouri River flooding may be eligible for wetland restoration assistance from the Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP) through a five-state project sponsored by The Nature Conservancy. The deadline to apply for this assistance is May 4.

J.R. Flores, state conservationist for the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), said that farmers in Atchison, Holt, Andrew, Buchanan, Platte, Ray, Lafayette, Carroll and Saline counties with land flooded last year may apply to restore wetlands through permanent easements. So can farmers with land within 1,100 yards of the Missouri River, even if their land was not damaged. However, applications received for land that was damaged will be ranked higher.

“Some farmers near the Missouri River have land that was scoured by the flood or was covered with deep sand deposits once the floodwaters receded,” Flores said. “WREP provides some options for them that could be economically favorable to trying to get the land crop-ready again.”

Flores added that the resulting wetlands would also offset societal costs of future floods while providing valuable water quality and wildlife habitat benefits.

Nearly $3 million is available for easements and restoration costs to producers in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota. The Nature Conservancy is providing a 5 percent cash match for restoration costs on permanent easement and key restoration practices.

“We are pleased to partner with NRCS in this new program, and we hope it represents part of a proactive approach that landowners and communities along the river can take to help reduce the impacts of future flooding along the Missouri River,” said Jan Glendening, director of The Nature Conservancy in Iowa.

Applications for this WREP project will be ranked based on the size of proposed easements, proximity to the river, proximity to conservation land areas greater than 300 acres, percentage of hydric soils, percent damage, and whether the easement area is located where a planned levee breach or levee setback will occur.  Easement costs will be based on current, post-flood conditions.

WREP is a voluntary program carried out through partnership agreements with state and local governments, non-governmental organizations and Indian tribes. It is a component of the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP). Landowners participating in WREP retain ownership and access to the land, and may be able to generate income from haying or recreation approved by NRCS.

Landowners may apply at their local NRCS offices.  NRCS office contact information  can be found in the phone book under “U.S. Government, Department of Agriculture,” or onlineAdditional information about WREP and other programs is also available by clicking here.

 

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