More than 11,000 of America’s private landowners have voluntarily enrolled over 2.3 million acres into the Wetlands Reserve Program. The cumulative benefits of these wetlands reach well beyond their boundaries to improve watershed health, the vitality of agricultural lands, and the aesthetics and economies of local communities.
The enrollment authority for the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), Grassland Reserve Program (GRP), and the Healthy Forest Reserve Program (HFRP) expired on September 30, 2013. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is not authorized to take applications or enter into any new contracts, agreements, or enrollments at this time. These NRCS easement programs will not be available for new enrollments until either the current legislation is extended or a new Farm Bill is enacted. The Agency will continue to service prior-year enrollments in these programs.
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
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.
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.
How to Apply
If you are interested in applying for WRP, please review the documents listed below as they will need to be completed when you apply.