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News Release

USDA NRCS ACEP WRE and ALE Application Deadline

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in New York, announces the availability of FY 2020 funding for both the Wetlands Reserve Easements (WRE) and Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) components of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)

Private landowners, American Indian tribes and eligible entities are encouraged to apply by April 30, 2020 for the ACEP – WRE

Private landowners, American Indian tribes, working through an eligible entity are encouraged to apply by April 30, 2020 for ACEP – ALE  

Syracuse, March 30, 2020– Blake Glover, 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 Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) and the Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) components of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) focuses on restoring and protecting wetlands through WRE as well as conserving productive agricultural lands and grasslands through ALE. Landowners are compensated for enrolling their land in either of these two easement options.

“Protecting our wetlands and agricultural lands, to ensure the viability and health of our resources, has never been more important than today.  Through ACEP, working with our outstanding partners and landowners in New York, we can help to provide long-term protection for our farmland, wetlands, and grasslands long into the future for generations to come.” Blake Glover, 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, tribes and eligible entities 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 April 30, 2020.

Due to the protocol regarding COVID-19, it is not possible to visit your local NRCS Field Office for the required WRE application forms. They may be downloaded from the New York NRCS website, by using the following link:

https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/ny/programs/easements/acep/?cid=nrcseprd1301837   

You may contact your local field office by visiting the following link:

https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=NY. A map of New York will appear. Click on your county, followed by clicking on “Natural Resources Conservation Service”. This will provide the mailing address, office phone number and email address of the local NRCS District Conservationist. You may call or email the office with questions. Your application will either need to be mailed to the local office, post marked by April 30th, or scanned and emailed by April 30th. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Agricultural Land Easements (ALE)

Through ACEP – ALE, NRCS provides funds to eligible conservation partners to purchase conservation easements on private working lands. This program helps keep working lands working, especially in areas experiencing development pressure. ALE 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 April 30, 2020.

ACEP – ALE Application materials may be found on the NRCS-New York ACEP website: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detailfull/ny/programs/easements/acep/?cid=nrcseprd1301837

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 https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/ny/programs/easements/acep/

Applications received after the posted deadlines will be batched for funding consideration in FY 2021 which begins October 1. 2020. Both WRE and ALE have continuous sign up.