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News Release

Streamlined wetland identification procedures will increase consistency across the Prairie Pothole Region

Contact:
Justin Fritscher
(202) 375-0871


WASHINGTON, July 15, 2015 – The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) today updated its process for identifying wetlands on private lands in the Prairie Pothole Region, as part of an effort to make use of new technology to improve our accuracy and efficiency in wetland identification.

The revised procedures use new mapping technologies to streamline initial determinations and reduce the need for field visits, which will help expedite determinations and decrease the backlog. Producers or landowners may request a subsequent field visit determination should they wish to appeal the initial off-site determination.

“Wetlands within the Prairie Pothole Region are recognized as a nationally significant resource,” said NRCS Chief Jason Weller. “While producers can still request in-person field visits, this updated process is part of an effort to improve and streamline determinations needed to confirm eligibility for many USDA programs. Currently a record number of farmland acres and producers are enrolled in USDA’s conservation programs, and today’s announcement keeps that momentum moving forward.”

NRCS staff in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota will begin using these revised wetland identification procedures to achieve consistency across the prairie pothole states and reduce a backlog of requests by incorporating new technology, creating a streamlined process that can be used throughout the year.

Since enactment of the Food Security Act in 1985, producers participating in most USDA programs have been required to comply with the wetland conservation compliance provisions, also known as “swampbuster” provisions. NRCS assists producers with meeting their wetland conservation compliance responsibilities by issuing certified wetland determinations that identify the location of all wetlands on the land and the scope of protection that must be provided in order for a producer to maintain eligibility for USDA program benefits. The 2014 Farm Bill re-linked these conservation compliance provisions to eligibility for crop insurance premium subsidies.

 For more on technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted or a local USDA service center.

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