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News Release

USDA announces funding available to help protect wetlands

Diane Petit, Public Affairs Officer

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) - Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE)

WARWICK, RI, February 9, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced the availability of funding to help landowners protect and restore wetlands in Rhode Island. The funding is provided through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) for Wetland Reserve Easements, which protect critical water resources and wildlife habitat, and encourage private owners to maintain land for wildlife. Through the voluntary sale of an easement, landowners limit future development to protect these key resources.

“The benefits of restoring, enhancing and protecting critical wetlands cannot be overstated,” said R. Phou Vongkhamdy, Rhode Island State Conservationist for NRCS. “Wetlands provide 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. USDA is committed to restoring and protecting vital sensitive wetlands that provide important wildlife habitat and improve water quality.”

ACEP's Wetland Reserve Easements allow landowners to successfully restore, enhance and protect habitat for wildlife on their lands, reduce damage from flooding, recharge groundwater and provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities. Eligible landowners can enroll in a permanent easement or 30 year easements.. Tribal landowners also have the option of enrolling in 30-year contracts.

Eligible application received by Friday, March 5, 2021 will be ranked for potential funding in 2021. To apply or for more information, contact Joseph Bachand, Easement Program Manager,, 401-822-8818 or Brunilda Velez, Assistant State Conservationist-Programs,, 401-822-8820.

To learn about ACEP and other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS, visit

NRCS is a federal agency that works hand-in-hand with the people of Rhode Island to improve and protect soil, water and other natural resources. The agency works with local conservation districts and other partners to serve farmers and landowners in the Ocean State and across the United States.