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News Release

WREP 2019

NRCS Contact:
Alicia Rodriguez (505) 761-4421

May 24, 2019


USDA Seeks Project Proposals to Protect and Restore Critical Wetlands  

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - USDA is making available up to $40 million in technical and financial assistance to help eligible conservation partners across the United States voluntarily protect, restore and enhance critical wetlands on agricultural lands. Restored wetlands improve water quality downstream and improve wildlife habitat, while also providing flood prevention and recreational benefits to communities.

“These locally-led partnerships are instrumental in achieving greater wetland acreage and maximizing their benefits to farmers, ranchers and the local communities where wetlands exist,” said Matthew Lohr, Chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “For example, we see this program as important to helping communities respond to natural disasters, such as the floods in the Midwest. These partnerships can help with addressing croplands that flood frequently and water storage.”

Proposals must be emailed to the State Conservationist and the national NRCS contact by June 14, 2019. For projects in New Mexico the proposal must be emailed to kristin.grahamchavez@usda.gov and to SM.NRCS.WRE@wdc.usda.gov.

About the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership

Funding will be provided through the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP), part of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), a Farm Bill conservation program. Through WREP, states, local units of governments, non-governmental organizations and American Indian tribes collaborate with NRCS through cooperative and partnership agreements. These partners work with tribal and private landowners who voluntarily enroll eligible land into easements to protect, restore and enhance wetlands on their properties.

Wetland reserve easements enable landowners to successfully reduce impacts from flooding, recharge groundwater, enhance and protect wildlife habitat and provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities. With recent severe flooding and other natural disasters in the Midwest and across the country, this is an opportunity for partners to work with impacted farmers and communities to mitigate these resource concerns. WREP allows participants to address issues from persistent high water on WRE eligible lands.

Partners interested in WREP must work with the NRCS state office where most of the project will be located when developing the proposal and to ensure that the proposals follow ACEP guidelines for wetland reserve easements. The NRCS state office will evaluate each proposal and recommend projects for funding to the NRCS national office.

The proposal format and criteria can be found at Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership. Interested partners are encouraged to contact Athena Cholas at the New Mexico NRCS state office at 505-761-4419.

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