Wetlands Reserve Program
Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)
The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) administered by NRCS is now accepting applications for funding on a continuous basis. NRCS State Conservationist Sylvia Gillen noted that the 2008 Farm Bill provided for a continuous signup to allow eligible entities more opportunities to sign up eligible parcels. Applications received after June 1, 2009 will receive consideration for fiscal year 2010 funding when it becomes available.
The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) is a voluntary program that provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners and Tribes to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands in exchange for retiring eligible land from agriculture. The program offers three enrollment options:
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.
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.
3. 30-Year contract is an option similar to the 30-year easement, and it is only available on Tribal lands.
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 and the landowner agrees to maintain the restored wetland for a period of at least 10 years after restoration is complete.
For both permanent and 30-year easements, USDA pays all costs associated with recording the easement, including recording fees, survey and appraisal fees, and title insurance. For the easement value, USDA will pay the lowest of:
the fair market value of the land according to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practices;
the geographic area rate cap (80-90% of the fair market value, depending on location and land use); or
the landowner’s offer.
Land proposed for funding in WRP must be privately owned or Tribal lands and must not have changed ownership in the past 7 years if an easement option is chosen. Lands may be included in the program based on the likelihood of successful restoration of wetland functions and values when considering program costs. Eligible lands in Utah include:
Farmed wetland or converted wetland, including wetlands farmed under natural conditions, farmed wetlands, prior converted cropland, commenced conversion wetlands, and farmed wetland pastures and lands substantially altered by flooding so as to develop wetland functions and values.
Former or degraded wetlands that occur on lands that have been used or are currently being used for the production of food and fiber, including rangeland and forest production lands, where the hydrology has been significantly degraded or modified and will be substantially restored.
How To Apply
To apply, complete the Application Form (NRCS-CPA-1200, PDF, 134 KB) and submit with a copy of the deed to the land being offered to the NRCS Field Office in the County where the offered land is located. For further information, contact your local Field Office or Pedro Ramos, Assistant State Conservationist-Programs at 801-524-4552, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Jeff Williams, NRCS Easement Specialist, email@example.com at 801-524-4254.