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ACEP | Wetland Reserve Easements

WRE Masthead V2

Application Cut-Off Date for FY2022 ACEP-WRE: TBD

Applications received after this date will be considered for funding in fiscal year 2023.

Overview

NRCS provides technical and financial assistance directly to private landowners and Indian tribes to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands through the purchase of a Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE). For acreage owned by an Indian tribe, there is an additional enrollment option of a 30-year contract. For all Wetland Reserve Easements, NRCS pays all costs associated with recording the easement in the local land records office, including recording fees, charges for abstracts, survey and appraisal fees, and title insurance.

Eligibility

Eligible land for Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) includes farmed or converted wetland that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored. NRCS will prioritize applications based the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. To enroll land through Wetland Reserve Easements, NRCS enters into purchase agreements with eligible private landowners or Indian tribes that include the right for NRCS to develop and implement a wetland restoration plan. This plan restores, protects, and enhances the wetland’s functions and values.

How to Apply

Any interested farmer, rancher, or American Indian Tribe may submit an application for participation in the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Wetland Reserve Easements (ACEP-WRE). The State Conservationist has established a sign-up period to select the highest ranked applications for funding based on the NRCS ranking process, contract approval is dependent on program eligibility determinations. Interested landowners must meet all landowner eligibility criteria and submit application documents at any time to their local USDA Service Center. Click here to find a USDA Service Center near you!

Ranking Process

The State Conservationist, in consultation with the State Technical Committee has developed ranking criteria to prioritize and subsequently fund applications addressing priority natural resource concerns in Washington. NRCS uses the Conservation Assessment Ranking Tool (CART) to assess the site vulnerability, existing conditions, and identify potential resource concerns on a unit of land. After the CART assessment is completed, NRCS uses CART Ranking to evaluate an application in all applicable ranking pools.

Easement Value

Easement values for WRE are based on the lowest value of an appraisal, a Geographic Area Rate Cap (GARC), or a landowner offer.

Enrollment Options

Permanent Easements – Permanent Easements are conservation easements in perpetuity. NRCS pays 100 percent of the easement value for the purchase of the easement. Additionally, NRCS pays between 75 to 100 percent of the restoration costs.

30-year Easements – 30-year easements expire after 30 years. Under 30-year easements, NRCS pays 50 to 75 percent of the easement value for the purchase of the easement. Additionally, NRCS pays between 50 to 75 percent of the restoration costs.

Term Easements - Term easements are easements that are for the maximum duration allowed under applicable State laws. NRCS pays 50 to 75 percent of the easement value for the purchase of the term easement. Additionally, NRCS pays between 50 to 75 percent of the restoration costs.

30-year Contracts – Term easements are easements that are for the maximum duration allowed under applicable State laws. NRCS pays 50 to 75 percent of the easement value for the purchase of the term easement. Additionally, NRCS pays between 50 to 75 percent of the restoration costs.

More Information

WRE Forms & Documents

# Document Name Release Date Example
1 NRCS-CPA-1200 Conservation Program Application 3/19/2020 Link

Washington State Contact

Carlee Elliott
State Easement Program Coordinator
11707 East Sprague Avenue, Suite 301
Spokane Valley, WA 99206
carlee.elke@usda.gov