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Easements

Protecting and Enhancing our Natural Resources

NRCS offers easement programs to landowners who want to maintain or enhance their land in a way beneficial to agriculture and/or the environment. All NRCS easement programs are voluntary. We provide technical help and financial assistance, but local landowners and organizations are needed to make NRCS easement programs successful.

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and wetlands. Under the Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) component NRCS helps Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations protect working agricultural lands and limit non-agricultural uses of the land. Under the Wetlands Reserve Easements (WRE) component, NRCS helps to restore, protect and enhance enrolled wetlands. With Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP) NRCS works with eligible partners to protect and restore wetlands in targeted areas.

Applications for ALE and WRE 2018 Funding are Due April 27, 2018

Application materials and instructions on how to apply for ALE are found here: Agricultural Land Easements Program (ALE)

To enroll land through the wetland reserve easement component (ACEP WRE), landowners should complete a NRCS-CPA-1200 and submit by the deadline to their local NRCS office. Application forms and instructions on how to apply for WRE are found here: Wetland Reserve Easement Program (WRE)

Application materials and instructions on how to apply for WREP are found here: Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP)

Healthy Forests Reserve Program

The Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP) restores or enhances threatened and endangered species habitat on forest properties. HFRP provides landowners with 10-year restoration agreements and 30-year or permanent easements for specific conservation actions. For acreage owned by an Indian tribe, there is an additional enrollment option of a 30-year contract. Some landowners may avoid regulatory restrictions under the Endangered Species Act by restoring or improving habitat on their land for a specified period of time.

HFRP funding is not available in New Mexico.

Former Easement Programs

The Grasslands Reserve Program (GRP) protected, restored, and enhanced grassland, including rangeland, pastureland, shrubland, and certain other lands.

The Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program (FRPP) helped purchase development rights which kept productive farm and ranchland in agricultural uses.

The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) protected, restored and enhanced wetlands. It had the goal of achieving the greatest wetland functions and optimum wildlife habitat on every acre enrolled in it.

The enrollment authority for the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP), Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), and the Farm and Ranch Protection Program (FRPP) expired on September 30, 2013. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is not authorized to take applications or enter into any new contracts, agreements, or enrollments for these programs. The Agency will continue to manage easements enrolled in these programs under the original terms of the easement deeds.

Link to National NRCS Easement Webpage: ACEP

The National webpage contains links to the ACEP program manual, the Final Rule, national fact sheets, obligation amounts to states and historical information on the results of easement funding.

Contacts

Kristin Graham Chavez
Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
(505) 761-4404
E-mail: kristin.grahamchavez@nm.usda.gov

Athena Cholas
Resource Conservationist
(505) 761-4419
E-mail: athena.cholas@nm.usda.gov