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News Release

USDA Seeks Project Proposals to Protect and Restore Critical Wetlands

Contact:
Dave Kreft
509-323-2991


SPOKANE, May 17, 2019 – USDA is making available up to $40 million in technical and financial assistance to help eligible conservation partners 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 Roylene Rides at the Door, Washington State Conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “For example, we see this program as important to improving water quality, ground water recharge, migratory birds, outdoor recreation and education, and recovery of at-risk species dependent upon wetland ecosystems. These partnerships can help with addressing croplands that flood frequently and water storage.”

Proposals should be emailed to NRCS at SM.NRCS.WRE@wdc.usda.gov by June 14, 2019.

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.

Partners benefit from WREP by targeting outreach and enrollment priorities supported by NRCS, including places impacted with rapidly increasing development and areas prone to climate change impacts. “WREP is a great opportunity to implement locally led conservation addressing a host of issues tied to healthy and abundant wetlands,” added Rides at the Door.  

The voluntary nature of NRCS' easement programs enables effective integration of wetland restoration on working landscapes, providing benefits to farmers and ranchers who enroll in the program, as well as benefits to the communities where the wetlands exist. Easements enable landowners to adopt a variety of conservation practices that improve the function and condition of wetlands.

Partners interested in WREP are encouraged to work with the NRCS state office contact, Dave Kreft, (dave.kreft@usda.gov, (509) 323-2991) as part of developing the proposal. Proposals must follow ACEP guidelines for wetland reserve easements.

Farmers, ranchers and forest landowners interested in ACEP should contact their local USDA service center or visit the ACEP webpage.