The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced an investment up to $5 million in the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program (WMBP). It is a grant program that supports the development of mitigation banks for use by agricultural producers seeking to maintain eligibility for USDA programs. Funds are available to Tribes, government entities, nonprofits, and other organizations.
“Wetlands are critical to our efforts to respond to the climate crisis, and wetland mitigation banks enable the restoration or creation of wetlands for the purpose of compensating for unavoidable impacts to wetlands at another location,” said Terry Cosby, chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “The Wetland Mitigation Banking Program helps states, local governments, and other qualified partners restore, create, and enhance wetland ecosystems.”
In order to participate in most USDA programs, ag producers agree to comply with the wetland conservation provisions. This means producers will not farm converted wetlands or convert wetlands to enable agricultural production. In situations where avoidance or on-site mitigation is challenging, the Farm Bill does allow for off-site mitigation through the purchase of mitigation banking credits.