USDA Announces New Conservation Assistance

Randall Weiseman Florida, USDA-NRCS

Gainesville, FL., April 16, 2010— USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Florida State Conservationist, Carlos Suarez, announced today the availability of funding for the Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP) to restore, enhance, protect, and manage habitat for migratory birds and other wetland-dependent wildlife. WREP is a voluntary conservation program that works through partnership agreements with states, nongovernmental organizations, and tribes.

“The wetland restoration and enhancement actions made available through WREP will maximize wildlife habitat values, water quality, and improve the overall environment in Florida,” said Suarez.

Eligible partners may submit proposals to the Florida NRCS state office. Proposals may be submitted for individual projects, watershed-wide, or a larger geographic area. Proposals will not be accepted by fax, email, or through the Web site. All proposals hand-delivered by courier will be accepted between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday, no later than Monday, May 24, 2010.

NRCS State Conservationists will evaluate partner proposals using a competitive process. Priority will be given to proposals that:
Have a high potential to achieve wetland restoration and significantly improve wildlife habitat;
Significantly leverage non-federal financial and technical resources and coordinate with other local, state, tribal, or federal efforts;
Demonstrate the partners’ history of working cooperatively with landowners;
Provide innovation in wetland protection, restoration, and enhancement methods and outcome-based performance measures and methods;
Provide evidence that wetland restoration and enhancement activities will be completed within 2 years of easement closing;
Provide for monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of the restoration activities;
Provide for matching financial or technical assistance funds to assist landowners with the implementation of the Wetlands Reserve Plan of Operations and associated contracts;
Facilitate the submission of landowner applications; and
Provide for outreach to, and participation of, beginning farmers or ranchers, socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers, limited resource farmers or ranchers, and Indian tribes within the area covered by the agreement.

Please visit: ; or contact Jeffrey Woods, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, 352-338-9515 if you would like additional information about WREP or to apply to participate in the program.

For information about other NRCS conservation programs, visit:, or visit the nearest USDA Service Center in your area. 2010 represents the 75th year of NRCS “helping people help the land.” Since its inception in 1935, the NRCS conservation delivery system has advanced a unique partnership with state and local governments and private landowners delivering conservation based on specific, local conservation needs, while accommodating state and national interests.