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News Release

USDA announces funding available to help protect wetlands

Contact:
Diane Petit, Public Affairs Officer
413-253-4371


A Cape Cod wetland.

AMHERST, Mass., Nov. 27, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced the availability of funding to help landowners protect and restore wetlands in Massachusetts. The funding is provided through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), created by the 2014 Farm Bill to protect critical water resources and wildlife habitat, and encourage private owners to maintain land for farming and ranching. Through the voluntary sale of an easement, landowners limit future development to protect these key resources.

“The benefits of restoring, enhancing and protecting critical wetlands cannot be overstated,” said Christine Clarke, Massachusetts State Conservationist for NRCS. “Wetlands provide critical habitat for a wide array of wildlife species. They also store floodwaters, clean and recharge groundwater, sequester carbon, trap sediment, and filter pollutants for clean water. USDA is committed to restoring and protecting vital sensitive wetlands that provide important wildlife habitat and improve water quality.”

ACEP's Wetland Reserve Easements allow landowners to successfully restore, enhance and protect habitat for wildlife on their lands, reduce damage from flooding, recharge groundwater and provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities. Eligible landowners can choose to enroll in a permanent or 30-year easement. Tribal landowners also have the option of enrolling in 30-year contracts.

In federal fiscal years 2014-2017, 527 acres of wetlands were protected in Massachusetts under ACEP Wetland Reserve Easements.

Interested landowners should apply by Friday, March 2, 2018. Contact your local USDA Service Center for more information. To learn about ACEP and other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS, visit www.ma.nrcs.usda.gov.

NRCS is a federal agency that works hand-in-hand with the people of Massachusetts to improve and protect soil, water and other natural resources. The agency has offices in USDA Service Centers in Greenfield, Hadley, Holden, Pittsfield, Westford, West Wareham and West Yarmouth, which work with local conservation districts and other partners to serve farmers and landowners in their area.