Many living in the state of Florida understand why wetlands are treasures of the state. But according to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, nearly half of 20.3 million wetland acres have been lost since settlers began draining and diking wetlands in the 19th century. And of course the growing population threatens what remains. So USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation service (NRCS) in Florida wants landowners to know there are programs to help preserve the state treasure.
The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) helps preserve and restore this precious resource. A landowner can sell a conservation easement to limit land uses, restore wetlands, protect wildlife habitat and prevent property development. Agricultural producers also conserve and protect water quality, reduce soil erosion and create wildlife habitat with financial and technical assistance from the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP).
NRCS notes those wetlands work hard for us, cleaning pollutants out of the water, storing it and controlling flooding. Coastal tidal salt marshes, mangrove swamps, inland southern swamps, freshwater marshes and riparian wetlands provide habitat for a vast array of rare plants and animals found nowhere else in the world.
Learn more about ACEP at your local NRCS office, or go to their website.