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Easements

Easements Head Graphic

NRCS offers multiple easement programs to eligible landowners to conserve working agricultural lands, wetlands, grasslands, and forestlands. All NRCS easement programs are voluntary to landowners who want to maintain or enhance their land in a way beneficial to agriculture and/or the environment. We provide technical help and financial assistance, but local landowners and organizations are needed to make NRCS easement programs successful. Washington NRCS easement programs include the following:

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)  NRCS’s overarching easement program and provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and wetlands and their related benefits. ACEP helps landowners, land trusts, and other entities protect, restore, and enhance wetlands, grasslands, and working farms and ranches through conservation easements.

Under the Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) component, NRCS helps American Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations protect working agricultural lands and limit non-agricultural uses of the land. Agricultural Land Easements protect the long-term viability of the nation’s food supply by preventing conversion of productive working lands to non-agricultural uses. Land protected by agricultural land easements provides additional public benefits, including environmental quality, historic preservation, wildlife habitat and protection of open space.

Under the Wetlands Reserve Easements (WRE) component, NRCS helps to restore, protect and enhance enrolled wetlands. Wetland Reserve Easements provide habitat for fish and wildlife, including threatened and 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. NRCS provides technical and financial assistance directly to private landowners and American Indian tribes.

The Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP) continues to be a voluntary program under the Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) component through which NRCS signs agreements with eligible partners to leverage resources to carry out high priority wetland protection, restoration and enhancement and to improve wildlife habitat.

Healthy Forests Reserve Program

The Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP) helps landowners restore, enhance and protect forestland resources on private lands through easements and financial assistance. Through HRFP, landowners promote the recovery of endangered or threatened species, improve plant and animal biodiversity and enhance carbon sequestration.