NSAC's Blog

USDA Awards Wetland Enhancement Projects

July 15, 2010

On July 12, David White, Chief of the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), announced 5 projects approved to receive funding through the Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP).

Under the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), the USDA purchases long-term or permanent easements to restore, protect and enhance wetland values and functions on  wetland that has been in agricultural production.  The program is competitive, with landowners submitting bids to USDA for enrollment.  USDA may also enter into restoration cost-share agreements and provide technical assistance to WRP participants.

The 2008 Farm Bill authorized the Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP) as a component of the WRP.  Under the WREP, states, non-governmental organizations, or Indian Tribes may partner with USDA on the selection and funding of multi-year WREP contracts.  Recipients improve wildlife habitat by creating floodplain corridors from wetlands to non-wetlands.  The WREP includes a pilot program under which landowners are allowed to retain grazing rights if the grazing activity is consistent with long-term wetland protection and enhancement goals for which the easement was established.

In the fiscal year 2010, the USDA awarded a total of $9,847,500 dollars through WREP, protecting, restoring and enhancing 2,440 acres of wetlands and wildlife habitat.  Recipients vary in scale from individual projects to multi-state watersheds.  2010 WREP projects include:

  • Wabash River Floodplain Corridor Project in Indiana/ Illinois;
  • Wetland Restoration and Enhancement for Water Quality and Habitat Benefits project in Iowa;
  • Sand Creek & Prior Lake/ Spring Lake Watershed in Minnesota; and
  • the Rainwater Basin Water Complex in Nebraska.

A special congratulations to the Iowa National Heritage Foundation, an NSAC member organization, awarded $2,000,000 to restore and protect 600 of Iowa’s wetlands.

Categories: Conservation, Energy & Environment

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