Wetland Reserve Program

Easement Program Funding Expiration

With the enactment of the new Farm Bill, easement programs have been revised under a new program, the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). Information and guidance will be posted as it is developed.


The Wetlands Reserve Program 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. The NRCS goal is to achieve the greatest wetland functions and values, along with optimum wildlife habitat, on every acre enrolled in the program. This program offers landowners an opportunity to establish long-term conservation and wildlife practices and protection.

Sign-up for this program is on a continuous basis, however, in order to be considered for 2013 funding, applicants need to submit their application to NRCS by October 1, 2012. Landowners who are interested in this program can apply at their local county USDA Service Center.

The following documents require Acrobat Reader
WRP Application Form
WRP Application Checklist
WRP Fact Sheet
WRP Ranking Criteria
WRP Ranking Criteria for Riparian Corridors

Making Offers to Landowners

In Vermont, offers are made to easement applicants based on a Geographic Area Rate Cap or GARC. The GARCs for Vermont were developed by completing a market analysis of land recently sold in each county that is similar to the lands that the NRCS acquires through this program. This market survey was completed by a local realtor and appraiser. For the analysis, lands were placed into three categories:

  1. land with few to moderate limitations for either development or agriculture
  2. land with severe limitations for development but slight to moderate limitations for agriculture, such as floodplains
  3. land with severe limitations for both development and agriculture

The GARC is based on 85% of Fair Market value in each category and by region - Lake Champlain Region or Connecticut River Region. Determining what category your land is in means determining the soil types you have on the land you've enrolled in the program. You most likely have more than one soil type on your land and therefore multiple category GARCs, so your offer will be based on the percent soils in each category.

The following documents require Acrobat Reader
2013 WRP Geographic Area Rate Caps (PDF; 62 KB)

Click here to locate a soils map of your land

Looking for more information about wetlands?

For definitions, quick facts and informational links about why we all need wetlands, please visit our wetland information page. The Wetlands Compliance page provides links to guide agricultural producers and technical service providers through the complicated rules of compliance.

Fore more information on successful WRP projects in Vermont, please view our success stories pages.

For more information contact:

Julia Zehner, Easement Program Manager
phone: 802-951-6796 ext. 245