Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)
Easement Program Funding Expiration - Update
The Agricultural Act of 2014 establishes the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).
It repeals FRPP, GRP, and WRP but does not affect the validity or terms of any FRPP, GRP, or WRP contract, agreement or easement entered into prior to the date of enactment on February 7, 2014 or any associated payments required to be made in connection with an existing FRPP, GRP, or WRP contract, agreement or easement.
For more information on ACEP, please visit the ACEP web page.
The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) was a voluntary program that offered landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands on their property.
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provided technical and financial support to help landowners with their wetland restoration efforts through WRP.
This program offered landowners an opportunity to establish long-term conservation and wildlife practices and protection.
The goal of NRCS was to achieve the greatest wetland functions and values, along with optimum wildlife habitat, on every acre enrolled in the program.
Lands that were eligible for WRP
- Wetlands farmed under natural conditions
- Farmed wetlands
- Prior converted cropland
- Farmed wetland pasture
- Certain lands that had the potential to become a wetland as a result of flooding
- Rangeland, pasture, or forest production lands where the hydrology had been significantly degraded and could be restored
- Riparian areas that linked protected wetlands
- Lands adjacent to protected wetlands that contributed significantly to wetland functions and values
- Wetlands that had previously been restored under a local, State, or Federal Program that need long-term protection
- Lands established to trees through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) were ineligible for WRP enrollment.
NRCS was committed to delivering all Farm Bill programs authorized through the 2008 Farm Bill and was eager to discuss with all interested parties about the many potential benefits that the WRP offered.
Former Enrollment Options
Under the easement options, the USDA paid 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.
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.
Rights Retained By Landowners
Speaking generally, under the voluntary easement the landowner retains the rights to:
- control of access
- title and right to convey title
- quiet enjoyment
- undeveloped recreational uses
- subsurface resources
- and water rights For rights specific to rights review the easement documents that encumber the property.
NRCS Kansas and NRCS Idaho have teamed up to publish a booklet and accompanying web page named Better Wetlands, a guide to more than a dozen ideas to improve restored wetlands for wildlife and personal enjoyment. Through their generosity, NRCS New York has created it's own version based on the material found in the original publication.
NRCS New York Wetlands Photo Gallery
Our Wetlands Photo Gallery contains some beautiful pictures of wetlands in New York and other areas of the United States.
USDA NRCS Wetland Photo Gallery
To learn how to get started with NRCS.
Find your local USDA Service Center.
Sign up for Farm Bill email updates