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News Release

NRCS Announces Funding for Wetland Restoration, Protection

Hathaway Jones

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Pennsylvania now has $1.9 million in funding available through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) to help private landowners, land trusts, and other groups wanting to restore and protect critical wetlands and protect agricultural lands and grasslands.

“For over 25 years, NRCS has worked with landowners to protect their wetlands and agricultural lands,” said State Conservationist Denise Coleman. “Conservation easements are important tools for people who are trying to improve soil health, water and air quality and wildlife habitat on their land.”

Funding is available for both the Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) program and the Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE) Program in 2021. Through ACEP Agricultural Land Easements (ALE), NRCS provides funds to eligible entities to purchase permanent easements on private working lands. This program helps keep working lands working, especially in areas experiencing development pressure. For ALE, $1,315,900.00 in funding is available for cooperating/partner entities to preserve agricultural land.

Through ACEP Wetland Reserve Easements, NRCS helps landowners restore, enhance, and protect wetland ecosystems. NRCS and the landowner work together to develop a plan for the restoration and maintenance of the permanent easement. For WRE, $642,000.00 is available for private landowners to preserve and restore wetland habitat across Pennsylvania.

Applications for both ALE and WRE are due no later than March 1, 2021 to be considered for funding in 2021.

Landowners interested in wetland reserve easements and partners interested in agricultural land easements should contact their local USDA service center.