The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking partners for wetland ecosystem restoration on agricultural land. A total of $17 million is being invested through the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP). Proposals for WREP projects are due by August 15. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is prioritizing conservation proposals from historically underserved producers.
“Our goal is to support agricultural producers in their efforts to conserve natural resources on their land,” NRCS Chief Terry Cosby said in a news release. “Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnerships help partners and producers work together to protect wetland ecosystems on working lands.”
Conservation partners will implement WREP projects that will help to protect, restore, and enhance high-priority wetlands on farming land. These efforts help to improve downstream water quality, recharge groundwater, bolster wildlife habitat, and help mitigate flooding impacts. State and local governments are eligible to participate, as well as non-government organizations and American Indian tribes. Approved applications will be responsible for contributing financial or technical assistance funding matches.
NRCS will work with eligible agricultural landowners who voluntarily enroll eligible lands into easements. The WREP program allows for the effective integration of wetland restoration practices on working agricultural lands. Program enrollment provides direct benefits to farmers and ranchers, as well communities near the enrolled wetlands.
Part of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, WREP enables collaboration with NRCS through cooperative and partnership agreements. The WREP funding that is being made available is for the Fiscal Year 2022 which is scheduled to begin on October 1. An upcoming workshop on July 15 will provide additional information on wetland ecosystem restoration and opportunities offered through WREP. WREP Program Manager, Lisa McCauley is available to answer questions about the program or the upcoming webinar. USDA’s goal is to help enhance economic opportunities for agricultural producers via new streams of income, made possible through various conservation practices and partnerships.