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News Release

Funding for FY2018 Conservation Easement Program

Peter Gibbs

Private landowners, American Indian tribes and eligible entities are encouraged to apply by February 9th 2018 for the Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) components of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). The Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) component of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) application filing deadline is February 23th, 2018.


Syracuse, December 1, 2017 – Gregory A. Kist, New York State Conservationist for the USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is announcing the acceptance of applications from interested landowners and entities for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) focuses on restoring and protecting wetlands as well as conserving productive agricultural lands and grasslands. Landowners are compensated for enrolling their land in easements.

“Conservation easements are an important tool to help eligible landowners and partners voluntarily provide long-term protection of our nation’s farmland, ranchland, wetlands and grasslands for future generations,” Gregory A Kist, State Conservationist for New York, said. “NRCS helps farmers, ranchers, private forest landowners and partners achieve their conservation goals using our technical expertise, Farm Bill funding and sound conservation planning.”


Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE)

Through ACEP -WRE, NRCS helps landowners and tribes restore and protect wetland ecosystems. Wetlands provide many benefits, including 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.

Wetland conservation easements are either permanent or for 30 years. Eligible lands include farmed or converted wetlands that can successfully be restored, croplands or grasslands subject to flooding, and riparian areas that link protected wetland areas. As part of the easement, NRCS and the landowner work together to develop a plan for the restoration and maintenance of the wetland.

The WRE application deadline is February 9th, 2018.


ACEP - WRE applications are available at local USDA Service Centers which can be located at the following link


Agricultural Land Easements (ALE)

Through ACEP – ALE, NRCS provides funds to conservation partners to purchase conservation easements on private working lands. This program helps keep working lands working, especially in areas experiencing development pressure. The Easements are permanent. Eligible lands include privately owned cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and forestlands.


Partners include state or local agencies, non-profits and tribes. Landowners continue to own their property but voluntarily enter into a legal agreement with a cooperating entity to purchase an easement.  The cooperating entity applies for matching funds from NRCS for the purchase of an easement from the landowner, permanently protecting its agricultural use and conservation values.  Landowners do not apply directly to NRCS for funding under this program, but rather through an eligible partner.

The ALE application deadline is February 23th 2018.


ACEP – ALE Application materials may be found on the NRCS-New York ACEP website:


You may also Contact: Peter Gibbs at 315-477-6543 for more information regarding ACEP - WRE and ALE in New York.


To learn more about ACEP and other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS conservation programs, visit the NRCS-New York ACEP webpage