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ACEP - Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE)


NRCS provides technical and financial assistance directly to private landowners and Indian tribes to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands through the purchase of a Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE). For acreage owned by an Indian tribe, there is an additional enrollment option of a 30-year contract.

Applications must be submitted by April 12, 2019 to be considered for fiscal year 2019 ACEP funding. Though signup is continuous, funding selections are made at specific times during the fiscal year.

Easement values for WRE are based on the lowest value of an appraisal, a Geographic Area Rate Cap (GARC), or a landowner offer. To determine Geographic Area Rate Caps, California uses a Market Analysis to assess the value of specific land uses in defined geographic areas. The Market Analysis is conducted each year by an independent appraiser and sets an up-front value for the property rights being acquired by USDA. Click on the following link to find the 2019 GARC(s) for specific California counties and land uses.

Through the WRE option, NRCS may enroll eligible land through:

Permanent Easements – Permanent Easements are conservation easements in perpetuity. NRCS pays 100 percent of the easement value for the purchase of the easement. Additionally, NRCS pays 100 percent of the restoration costs.

30-year Easements – 30-year easements expire after 30 years. Under 30-year easements, NRCS pays 75 percent of the easement value for the purchase of the easement. Additionally, NRCS pays 75 percent of the restoration costs.

30-year Contracts – 30-year contracts are only available to enroll acreage owned by Indian tribes. Program payment rates are commensurate with 30-year easements. Additionally, NRCS pays 75 percent of the restoration costs.

Grazing Reserved Rights Option - California NRCS is offering a Grazing Reserved Rights Option in specific geographic areas of the state as part of WRE. Permanent and 30-year easement options are available. For a grazing easement, NRCS pays 75% of the Permanent or 30-year easement values identified above. This option allows livestock grazing on enrolled land as part of an NRCS approved wetlands conservation and grazing management plan.

For all Wetland Reserve Easements, NRCS 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.


Land eligible for Wetland Reserve Easements includes farmed or converted wetland that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored. NRCS will prioritize applications based the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.

To enroll land through Wetland Reserve Easements, NRCS enters into purchase agreements with eligible private landowners or Indian tribes that include the right for NRCS to develop and implement a wetland restoration plan. This plan restores, protects, and enhances the wetland’s functions and values.

WRE Application and Additional Information

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Application Information
Landowner Eligibility Documentation
Supplemental Documentation

For more information contact:

Nate Key, WRE Team Leader - Northern California
Phone: (530) 216-5856

Karl Kraft, WRE Biologist - Southern California
Phone: (209) 287-3637

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