LINCOLN – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the availability of $15 million through the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership. This program helps eligible conservation partners leverage local resources to restore wetlands on agricultural land. Proposals must be submitted to the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) by May 16, 2016.
Through the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership, eligible conservation partners; state and local governments, non-governmental organizations and Tribal governments, match federal funding and technical assistance to increase the support they provide landowners interested in enrolling their agricultural land into conservation wetland easements. The Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership is a special enrollment option under NRCS’ Agricultural Conservation Easement Program.
Proposals must be submitted by close of business on May 16 to:
USDA-NRCS Attn: Craig Derickson
Federal Building, Room 152
100 Centennial Mall North
Lincoln, NE 68508
According to NRCS State Conservationist Craig Derickson, wetland reserve easements allow landowners to enhance and protect habitat for wildlife, reduce impacts from flooding, recharge groundwater and provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities.
“NRCS easement programs help productive farm and ranchland continue in agricultural production while also protecting the natural resources of these areas, providing benefits to farmers and ranchers who enroll in the program, while also benefitting their communities,” Derickson said.
Nationwide, in 2014 and 2015, NRCS invested more than $600 million through its Agricultural Conservation Easement Program 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 easements.
“NRCS is committed to protecting and enhancing our nation’s wetlands. We are looking to our partners for innovative project proposals that will leverage our Farm Bill conservation funding. This will allow us to expand our work on critical wetlands and gain results that will benefit all Nebraskans,” Derickson said.