NRCS Announces February 12 Deadline for WREP Funding in Missouri
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has set a February 12 deadline for owners of wetlands in the Lower Grand River watershed to apply for further restoration assistance through the Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP).
WREP, a component of the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), provides landowners with opportunities to enhance older WRP easements. About $141,000 is available for eligible landowners in Carroll, Chariton, Linn, Livingston, Mercer and Sullivan counties.
“The idea behind WREP is to incorporate more modern wetlands-restoration techniques into some of the older WRP sites where only minimal, if any, land restoration took place,” says Acting State Conservationist Karen Brinkman.
Harold Deckerd, NRCS assistant state conservationist for water resources, explains that original wetland restorations were geared primarily toward ducks. The thinking was the more water, the better. However, over time, biologists have learned that wetlands benefit a variety of migrating birds, and that shallow water, ranging from mud flats to less than one-foot deep, is the key to creating suitable habitat.
Deckerd says NRCS now uses historical maps that show where old river meanders, oxbows and sloughs once existed, to recreate those natural features.
This is the third year that landowners can apply for funds to enhance older WRP sites. In 2011, NRCS funded eight enhancements covering 1,376 acres. In 2012, NRCS funded five enhancements covering 1,038 acres.
Brinkman says WREP funding is not intended to enroll new easements. However, landowners can apply for financial and technical assistance for new easements through WRP.
“WRP is available statewide and has a continuous sign up,” she said.
Missouri landowners may apply for all NRCS programs at local NRCS offices. They are listed in telephone directories under, U.S. Government, Department of Agriculture. Locations and contact information also is available here.