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Easements

Oklahoma NRCS Conservation Easements

Land eligible for agricultural easements include cropland, grassland, pastureland and nonindustrial private forest land.  Native American Tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland protection programs are eligible to partner with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to purchase conservation easements.

Land enrolled in the Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP) is prevented from being developed or going to a non-agricultural use.  There protected lands also provide public benefits including environmental quality, historic preservation, wildlife habitat and protection of open space.  ACEP protects critical water resources and wildlife habitat and encourages private owners to maintain their land for farming.  Through the voluntary sale of an easement, landowners limit future development to protect these key resources.

For more information contact nrcsinfo@ok.usda.gov

 

USDA Announces Funding for FY2021 Conservation Easement Program


Oklahoma’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist, Gary O’Neill, has announced the agency is accepting applications for its ACEP-WRE Program, and those submitted by March 12, 2021, will be considered for FY2021 funding. The NRCS will prioritize applications that protect, restore and enhance habitat for wildlife on their lands and reduce damage from flooding and recharge groundwater.

 

“USDA is committed to restoring and protecting vital sensitive wetlands that provide important wildlife habitat and improve water quality,” said O’Neill.

 

Land eligible for easements includes cropland, rangeland, grassland and pastureland land owned by private individuals or Native American Tribes. Wetlands Reserve Easements provide habitat for fish and wildlife, including endangered species, improve water quality by filtering sediments and chemicals, reduce flooding, recharge groundwater, protect biological diversity and provide opportunities for educational, scientific and limited recreational activities.

 

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) has two components, one for Agricultural Land Easements (ALE), and Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE).  Applications for both ALE and WRE are accepted on a continuous basis.

  • Under the ALE component, funds are provided to eligible entities that use ACEP funding to purchase permanent agricultural land easements that not only protect the future of the nation's food supply, they also support environmental quality, wildlife habitat, and historic preservation and protection of open spaces.
  • Under the WRE component, funding is provided directly to landowners for the purchase of an easement and for restoration. Wetland reserve easements allow landowners to successfully restore, enhance, and protect habitat for wildlife on their lands.  Eligible landowners may choose to enroll in a permanent or 30-year easement. Eligible lands include farmed or converted wetlands that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored.

 

To apply for a Wetland Reserve Easement, landowners should contact their local NRCS field office, to be considered in the current batching period ending March 12, 2021.

 

While visitors are not currently allowed in USDA Service Centers in Oklahoma, our program delivery staff will be in the office, and they will be working with our producers by phone, and using online tools. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus

 

 

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