USDA Investing in Restoration of Wetlands

Dan Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Wetland Reserve Easements (ACEP-WRE), USDA-NRCS

Courtesy of USDA/NRCS

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will be investing up to $50 million in fiscal year 2024 through the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP). This effort is designed to support conservation partners with local projects that help protect, restore and enhance critical wetlands on agricultural lands and also help mitigate climate change. 

Proposals are being accepted until August 16, 2024, as NRCS is prioritizing proposals that focus on producers who conserve wetlands in or that are anticipated to benefit disadvantaged communities, contributing to NRCS’ effort to advance equity and environmental justice in its delivery of conservation programs. 

“Our goal is to leverage the Inflation Reduction Act’s additional funding to help mitigate climate change through our conservation programs while protecting and improving critical natural resources like wetlands and wildlife habitat,” said NRCS Chief Terry Cosby. “The Wetland Reserve Enhancement Program takes a collective focus amongst partners and producers, with persistent engagement in conservation activities that helps grow the healthy functions and values of wetland ecosystems on working 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. 

WREP is part of the?Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). Through WREP, states, local units of government, non-governmental organizations, and Tribal Nations 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.?This includes marginal croplands, which are less productive because of repeated flooding or standing water. 

WREP partners are required to contribute a financial or technical assistance fund match. Proposals must be limited to $10 million in federal funding and should include a breakdown of project activities. Partners should apply through their NRCS state office

Partners looking to learn more about opportunities for WREP funding for fiscal year 2024 are encouraged to attend the WREP workshop on June 20, 2024, at 2 p.m. EST. Partners interested in attending should contact Ken Kriese, national ACEP-Wetland Reserve Easements program manager, at kenneth.kriese@usda.gov to be added to the Teams invitation.