Wetlands are important components of our New York's ecological, social and economic assets. They provide important, often critical, habitat for many plants and animals. Their social value is expressed through open, natural spaces supporting outdoor recreation and immeasurable intrinsic aesthetic value.
Wetlands in New York are essential to the ecological balance in nature. One-third of our nation’s bird species depend on wetlands - and so do most species of wildlife. New York State’s Wetlands Reserve Program’s (WRP) focus is on restoring open water and emergent habitat to old agricultural wetlands that will provide migratory bird nesting habitat. Nesting habitat restoration is valuable in New York because it is a breeding bird (duck) state as identified in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.
WRP restoration activities that are underway include low berms, dikes, potholes, level ditching, ditch plugs, nesting islands, tile breaks, blasting of potholes and level ditches, and microtopography diversity.
New York landowners are interested in, and sign up for, WRP because of the wildlife values of wetlands, the opportunity to give something back to future generations, land stewardship, educational opportunities, quiet enjoyment, quality of life, environmental concern, and economic gain.
WRP acreage in New York provides a variety of ecological benefits. The WRP sites provide wildlife habitat for migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, and other wildlife, with an emphasis on waterfowl.
Throughout the State WRP provides income to borderline farm operations. Program funds have allowed small family farmers either to remain in business or maintain family ownership. There also is income derived from marginal lands. Socially, WRP participants are doing their part to protect the environment.
Local economies benefit by bringing money back into the communities from the hiring of local appraisers, surveyors, title companies, abstract firms, and closing attorneys. Money is brought back into these communities. NRCS leads the team of cooperating agencies and groups that plan local projects which include: hiring private contractors to install conservation practices, working with community groups on land use issues and education, and developing wetland areas for public use.
NRCS in New York is a national model for developing a partnership approach in wetland restoration. NRCS works with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA's Farm Service Agency, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Corps of Engineers, The Nature Conservancy, Environmental Protection Agency, Farm Bureau, NYS Ag and Markets and Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and Cornell Cooperative Extension Service on wetland restoration through the State Technical Committee. Many more partners are involved in carrying out WRP projects, including the Great Swamp Conservancy, Mohawk and Oneida Indian Nations, Ducks Unlimited, local units of government, and colleges. The partnership works together on:
- Program Development
- Program Implementation
- Planning - WRP eligibility, ranking, practices, and permits
- Installation - Construction
- Public Relations
- Educational Activities
20 Years of Restoring America’s Wetlands
Restoring America’s Wetlands: A Private Lands Conservation Success Story
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. To commemorate these past 20 years, NRCS has published "Restoring America’s Wetlands: A Private Lands Conservation Success Story". Visit our national NRCS Web site to view or download this publication.
The Hydric Soils section of the NRCS Soils Web page presents the most current information about hydric soils. It updates information that was previously published in “Hydric Soils of the United States” and coordinates it with information that has been published in the “Federal Register”. It also includes the most recent set of field indicators of hydric soils.
Wetlands - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The enduring mission of the EPA's Wetland Program is to encourage and enable others to act effectively in protecting and restoring the nation's wetlands and associated ecosystems, including shallow open waters and free-flowing streams.
Environmental Concern (EC)
Environmental Concern promotes the public understanding and stewardship of wetlands with the goal of improving water quality and enhancing nature’s habitat through wetland outreach and education, native species horticulture, and the restoration, construction and enhancement of wetlands.
NRCS Kansas and NRCS Idaho have teamed up to publish a booklet and accompanying Web page named "Better Wetlands". Through their generosity, NRCS New York has created it's own Web version based on the material found in the original publication.
Better Wetlands is your guide to more than a dozen ideas to improve restored wetlands for wildlife and personal enjoyment.
NRCS New York Wetlands Photo Gallery
Our Wetlands Photo Gallery contains some beautiful pictures of wetlands in New York and other states.
Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)
The purpose of the Wetlands Reserve Program is to preserve, protect, and restore the nations valuable wetlands. Wetland protection will improve wildlife and migratory bird habitat, improve water quality, and provide flood water retention, ground water recharge, open space, and aesthetic values.