USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Ben Malone announced that eligible producers interested in the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program’s Wetlands Reserve Easements component should apply for program funds by May 31, 2018 at their local NRCS service center in Baldwin and Mobile Counties.
Wetland reserve easements allow landowners to enhance and protect habitat for wildlife on their lands, reduce impacts from flooding, recharge groundwater and provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities. The voluntary nature of NRCS’ easement programs allows effective integration of wetland restoration on working landscapes, providing benefits to farmers and ranchers who enroll in the program, as well as benefits to their communities.
“We are looking to work with landowners in these counties to help us expand our work on critical wetlands in Alabama and gain results that will showcase how important conservation is for these areas,” said Malone.
Funding for these easements will be provided in collaboration with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). Collectively nationwide, NRCS easement programs help productive farm, ranch and grasslands continue in agricultural production and protect the nation’s critical farmland, wetlands and grasslands that are important to water supplies and home to diverse wildlife and plant species. In 2014 and 2015, NRCS invested more than $600 million through ACEP to help landowners engage in voluntary conservation. Their collective efforts provide long-term protection of an estimated 250,000 acres of farmland, grassland and wetlands through more than 750 new easements.
Eligible landowners are encouraged to apply by May 31, 2018 by visiting their local USDA service center.