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Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)

Under the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, authority to enroll new participants or enter new contracts for several conservation programs expired on September 30, 2012, including the the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP).  Beginning in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, while NRCS will continue to service prior-year contracts and enrollments for this program, NRCS is not accepting applications for new contracts or enrollments at this time.Dragonfly

What is WRP?

The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) is a voluntary conservation program that offers landowners the means and opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands on their property through perpetual easements, 30 year easements or Land Treatment Contracts. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) manages the program as well as provides technical and financial support to help landowners who participate in WRP.

WRP Fact Sheet 

Landowner Eligibility

There are two components of eligibility to consider for participation in WRP, the landowner eligibility and the land eligibility.

Requirements for landowner eligibility include:

  • Compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions. (Sodbuster/Swampbuster)
  • Meet the Adjusted Gross Income Limitation (producers with adjusted nonfarm gross income, averaged over 3 years, of over $1 million are not eligible unless 66.66% or more of total income is average adjusted gross farm income.)
  • For easement applications, demonstrate ownership of the land for the past 7 years or more (with certain exceptions such as inheritance).

Land eligibility requirements include:

  • Privately owned land.
  • Wetlands cleared and/or drained for farming, pasture, or timber production.
  • Lands adjacent to restorable wetlands that contribute significantly to wetland functions and values.
  • Previously restored wetlands that need long-term protection.
  • Drained wooded wetlands where hydrology will be restored.
  • Existing or restorable riparian habitat corridors that connect protected wetlands. >
  • Lands substantially altered by flooding where there is a likelihood of successful wetland restoration at a reasonable cost.

Ineligible Land

  • Wetlands converted after December 23, 1985
  • Certain Conservation Reserve Program contract lands where trees have been successfully established.
  • Federal Lands.
  • Lands where conditions make restoration impossible.

Landowner Enrollment Options

WRP offers four enrollment options:

  1. Permanent Easement is a conservation easement in perpetuity. USDA pays 100 percent of the easement value and up to 100 percent of the restoration costs.
  2. 30-Year Easement is 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. For both permanent and 30-year easements, USDA pays 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.
  3. Restoration Cost-Share Agreement is 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.
  4. 30-Year Contract – available only to acreage owned by Indian Tribes.

Application Procedure

To apply for WRP, contact any of the NRCS Field Offices throughout Ohio for an application.

Application Form (NRCS-CPA-1200)

For More Information on WRP:

National WRP Webpage

WRP Program Contact:

Danielle Balduff, WRP Program Manager
Phone: 614-255-2574