The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (“NRCS”) announced in a Nov. 3 press release that it would invest $ 11 million in partnerships to restore wetlands for projects that bring together partners and landowners to voluntarily restore wetland functions to agricultural landscapes.
The funding is for two new projects and additional funding for existing projects which are described as prioritizing high impact projects and providing assistance to historically underserved farmers and herders.
The Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (“WREP”) is a voluntary program under which the NRCS enters into agreements with eligible partners to mobilize resources to carry out the protection, restoration and enhancement of wetlands in order to enhance the protection, restoration and improvement of wetlands. ” improve wildlife habitat. This Farm Bill conservation program is part of the Wetland Reserves and Easements component of the Agricultural Conservation Easements Program.
State agencies, county and local governments, non-governmental organizations, and Native American tribes have the opportunity to submit proposals for priority project areas. If a proposal is accepted for funding, partners work with landowners who voluntarily list eligible lands in easements to protect, restore and enhance wetlands on properties.
An ongoing project receiving additional funding that includes part of Arkansas is included. The NRCS press release notes:
The tri-state partnership, led by Nature Conservancy, which is seeking to list an additional 1,500 acres of wetlands as part of a multi-year effort in the project area. A minimum of 750 acres (50%) will be specifically targeted for listing historically underserved landowners. This project focuses on restoring forested wetlands in priority parts of the Mississippi alluvial valley in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
New projects underway include those undertaken by the Georgia-Alabama Land Trust and the Athens Land Trust.
The additional project underway is the Lower Wabash River and White River Oxbow Project which is being undertaken in Indiana and Illinois.
A copy of the press release can be downloaded here.