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USDA Seeks New Partnerships to Safeguard, Restore Wetland Ecosystems

Clint Thompson USDA

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced up to $30 million is available in technical and financial assistance through the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP) to help conservation partners protect and restore critical wetlands on agricultural lands.

“This partnership enhances the locally driven process to better address critical wetland functions that progress beyond localities,” said Kevin Norton, acting Chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “WREP works with other NRCS landscape-level conservation efforts to coordinate the delivery of conservation assistance to producers in targeted areas that yield the most impacts for accelerated benefits.”

Eligible conservation partners will work through WREP to voluntarily execute high priority wetland protection, restoration, and enhancement activities on eligible agriculture lands. WREP enables effective integration of wetland restoration on working agricultural landscapes, providing meaningful benefits to farmers and ranchers who enroll in the program and to the communities where the wetlands exist.

Funding will be provided through the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (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.

Proposals should be emailed to NRCS by Nov. 30, 2020.

Partners looking to learn more about opportunities for WREP funding for fiscal year 2021 are encouraged to attend the WREP workshop on October 22, 2020, at 1 p.m. EDT. Visit the WREP webpage for more information on the workshop or this program opportunity.