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2016 Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership Projects

2016 Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership Projects

Arkansas | Indiana | Iowa | Louisiana | Nebraska | New Hampshire | Tennessee | Washington | Wisconsin

Arkansas:  MRBI Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership in the Cache River Watershed

The purpose of this project is to improve water quality and restore forested wetlands in a priority focal area of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV) of Arkansas. Partners will enroll 4,500 acres over three years into the WRE program in priority areas to reduce significant non-point source pollution affecting the Cache and White Rivers, restore 3000 acres to bottomland hardwood forest on newly enrolled easements and restore natural hydrology to 1,500 acres of easement floodplain.

Lead Partner:  The Nature Conservancy
Proposed NRCS Investment:  $14,658,750
Proposed Partner Investment: $1,059,750

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Indiana:  Lower Wabash and White River Floodplain Protection

The Wabash River basin makes up approximately 2% of the area of the Mississippi River Basin (MRB) but contributes roughly 11% of the total nitrogen export from the MRB. In addition to providing important habitat for wildlife, floodplains are the last chance to treat water before it leaves a watershed. Project goals are to build on existing efforts of partnerships to reduce nutrient export from the Wabash River and to improve important migratory and wintering bird habitat. By enrolling 400 acres in WRE, this project will help improve both water quality and at risk species habitat in the watersheds.

Lead Partner:  The Nature Conservancy
Proposed NRCS Investment: $1,500,000
Proposed Partner Investment: $79,000

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Iowa: The Iowa-Cedar Headwaters Wetland Initiative II: Building Wetland Complexes in the Prairie Pothole Joint Venture Region of Iowa within the Upper Reaches of the Iowa and Cedar River Watersheds

This project area is best described as where long-term wetland restoration program in the prairie potholes meets more recent efforts to assist flood-affected landowners in the Iowa and Cedar River watersheds. Through this project, partners can improve both breeding and migration habitat for migratory birds; provide improved water quality within a portion of the UpperMississippi River Basin; and can provide floodwater attenuation that benefits towns and people living in the Iowa and Cedar River watersheds. This project proposes to restore and permanently protect and restore 580 acres of prairie pothole wetlands and associated tallgrass prairie uplands under a combination of permanent NRCS WRE easements (400 acres), State of Iowa Wetland Easements and State of Iowa fee title acquisitions (180 acres). Easement enrollment will be focused within 3 project sites that encompass a set of 5 Prairie Pothole Joint Venture (PPJV) Priority Areas and 2 Ducks Unlimited Living Lakes Initiative Emphasis Areas.

Lead Partner:  Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Proposed NRCS Investment: $3,000,000
Proposed Partner Investment: $175,000

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Louisiana:  Restoring Forested Wetlands to Improve Water Quality and Provide Wetland-Dependent Wildlife Habitat within MRBI Watersheds in Louisiana

Over the next three years, partners will enroll up to 2,100 acres within seven MRBI watersheds in northeast Louisiana in WREP. Multiple benefits will be provided by the project including increasing habitat for fish and wildlife, improving water quality by reducing nutrient and pesticide application, reducing flooding, recharging ground water and providing outdoor recreational opportunities. Significant wildlife benefits include restoration of critical habitat for the Louisiana black bear, migratory waterfowl and wetland-dependent wildlife. Special consideration will be given to historically underserved producers.

Lead Partner:  Ducks Unlimited
Proposed NRCS Investment: $5,155,500
Proposed Partner Investment: $544,500

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Nebraska: Nebraska’s Playa Wetlands; Working for Producers, Migratory Birds, & the Ogallala Aquifer

Despite the extensive wetland drainage throughout the Rainwater Basin and Central Table Playa Wetland Complex, many historic wetlands intermittently pond water during the cropping season. As a result, these cropped wetlands are often subject to diminished profitability. Landowners and farm operators are the first to recognize when wetland conversion attempts have failed, and the need for viable economic alternatives for these acres. Restoration of these 900 acres of playa wetlands and associated upland buffer will create a win-win situation for producers, migratory birds, resident wildlife, as well as the citizens of rural communities.  These wetland restorations are also expected to address seven of Nebraska NRCS’s State Resource concern priorities, such as soil erosion and water quality.

Lead Partner:  Nebraska Game and Parks
Proposed NRCS Investment: $3,251,300
Proposed Partner Investment: $573,750

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New Hampshire: Salmon Falls & Merrimack Rivers Initiative: Protecting Water Resources and Critical Habitat in Two Nationally Imperiled Watersheds

Due to projected increases in housing density between 2000 and 2030, the Forest Service identified the Merrimack and Piscataqua-Salmon Falls River Watersheds as the #1 and #3 most threatened watersheds in the nation. In order to conserve areas impacted by this rapid development, the goal of this WREP project is to permanently protect, enhance and restore approximately 500 acres of wetlands, floodplains, riparian areas and upland forests. The project will target priority wildlife habitat for the state-endangered Blanding’s turtle and New England cottontail as well as critical water resources providing multiple benefits to local communities.

Lead Partner:  Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire
Proposed NRCS Investment: $1,600,000
Proposed Partner Investment: $400,000

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Tennessee: Restoration of Bottomland Hardwood Forests and Wetlands in the Lower Mississippi River Batture, Phase III

The purpose of this project is to achieve more sustainable land and water management in the active floodplain of the Lower Mississippi, thus providing significant ecological, economic and societal benefits. Partners will enroll an additional 5,000 acres into WRE in order to achieve multiple benefits such as improving water quality, expanding habitat for federally protected species, reducing soil erosion and providing additional outdoor recreation opportunities. This is the third phase of work that began in 2012 that is on track to enroll more than 20,000 acres by 2019. The project area includes portions of 35 counties/parishes bordering the Mississippi River in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. NRCS plans to invest almost $12.2 million in this project.

Lead Partner:  Mississippi River Trust
Proposed NRCS Investment: $12,191,650
Proposed Partner Investment: $500,000

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Tennessee: Wetland Hydrologic Restoration to Reduce Nutrient and Sediment Pollution in High-Priority West Tennessee Watersheds

Partners will enroll between 350-500 acres of floodplain in WRE easements to restore lost floodplain habitats, improve water quality in the Forked Deer River and Gulf of Mexico, and improve fish and wildlife habitat. The project will begin FY17 and extend to FY2020.

Lead Partner:  West Tennessee River Basin Authority
Proposed NRCS Investment:$3,000,000
Proposed Partner Investment: $766,819  

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Washington: Partnership for Wetland Conservation in the Upper Columbia River Basin of Eastern Washington

The primary purpose of this project is to complete restoration and enhancement of wetland, riparian and upland habitats on two existing WRP easements in the Upper Columbia River watershed in northeast Washington. The project will provide important benefits to migratory birds and at-risk species while also addressing at least seven Priority Natural Resource Concerns, such as soil erosion and water quality degradation, identified in the 2012 State Resource Assessment.

Lead Partner:  Ducks Unlimited
Proposed NRCS Investment: $143,900
Proposed Partner Investment: $143,900

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Wisconsin:  Improving Habitat Quality of WRE Properties in Wisconsin by Increasing Participation in Management by WRE Landowners

More than 600 properties are enrolled in WRE and WREP in Wisconsin encompassing more than 60,000 acres throughout the state. The abundant and widespread distribution of WRE properties makes it difficult to secure large-scale shared management agreements as is common practice in nearby states such as Nebraska and Missouri. In order to increase the use of cost-effective management across WRE properties, this project will work to increase engagement in management of WRE properties by landowners.

Lead Partner:  Wisconsin Wetland Association
Proposed NRCS Investment: $129,000
Proposed Partner Investment: $129,000

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