USDA accepting proposals for wetland restoration partnerships

July 7, 2021
The USDA's new Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership will support groups in restoring, enhancing or protecting wetlands in agricultural areas.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on June 30 that it plans to invest $17 million for conservation partners to help protect and restore critical wetlands on agricultural lands through the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP).

This initiative comes at a time where the importance of wetlands in reducing agricultural pollution is quickly being realized.

According to USDA's news release, the WREP is currently looking for partners for help in this initiative, and is accepting proposals until August 15, 2021. The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is giving priority to proposals that focus on assisting historically underserved producers conserving wetlands.

Restored wetlands help to improve water quality downstream, enhance wildlife habitat, reduce impacts from flooding and provide recreational benefits.

“Our goal is to support agricultural producers in their efforts to conserve natural resources on their land,” said NRCS Chief Terry Cosby. “Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnerships help partners and producers work together to protect wetland ecosystems on working lands.”

Through these partnership projects through WREP, eligible partners protect, restore and enhance high-priority wetlands on agriculture land. WREP enables the effective restoration of wetlands on working agricultural landscapes, while also providing meaningful benefits to the affected farmers and ranchers.

Eligible partners include Tribes, state and local governments and non-government organizations. WREP partners are required to contribute a financial or technical assistance fund match.

WREP funding will be for fiscal year 2022, which begins on Oct. 1, 2021.

How to Apply

Partners interested in applying should contact their NRCS state office for more information. Proposals are due by Aug. 15, 2021.

Partners looking to learn more about opportunities for WREP funding for fiscal year 2022 are encouraged to attend the WREP workshop on July 15, 2021 at 1 p.m. EST. Partners interested in attending should contact WREP Program Manager, Lisa McCauley at [email protected].

More Information

Funding will be provided through the WREP, which is part of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), a Farm Bill conservation program. Through WREP, states, local units of governments, non-governmental organizations and American Indian tribes collaborate with NRCS through cooperative and partnership agreements. These partners work with tribal and private landowners who voluntarily enroll eligible land into easements to protect, restore and enhance wetlands on their properties.

Wetland reserve easements enable landowners to successfully reduce impacts from flooding, recharge groundwater, enhance and protect wildlife habitat and provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities. Partners benefit from WREP by targeting outreach and enrollment priorities supported by NRCS, including places impacted by natural disasters.

SOURCE: USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service