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News Release

USDA announces funding available to help protect wetlands

Diane Petit, Public Affairs Officer

A photo of a wetland

AMHERST, Mass., Jan. 7, 2021 – 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 Wetland Reserve Easement component of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), which protects critical water resources and wildlife habitat, and encourages private owners to maintain land for farming. Through the voluntary sale of an easement, landowners limit future development to protect key wetland resources.

“The benefits of restoring, enhancing and protecting critical wetlands cannot be overstated,” said Dan Wright, 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 enroll in a permanent easement. Tribal landowners also have the option of enrolling in 30-year contracts.

Applications will now be ranked monthly. This year’s first application ranking cut-off date is Friday, February 12, 2021. All eligible applications received by 4:00 pm on this date will be ranked. The highest ranked applications will be selected based on the available funds provide to Massachusetts NRCS. Subsequent cut-off dates will be the second Friday of the month through July 9, 2021.

Applications should be submitted to Helen Castles, USDA-NRCS Massachusetts State Office, 451 West Street, Amherst, MA 01002. Contact your local USDA Service Center for more information. To learn about ACEP and other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS, visit

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.