Great News for Wetlands: USDA Pours $30 Million into Conservation
October 27, 2015
From reducing the impacts of flooding to recharging groundwater and providing outdoor recreational and educational opportunities, wetlands benefit U.S. agriculture in a number of ways — and the USDA agrees.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced earlier this month that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will award $30 million to projects in six states to protect, restore and enhance wetlands on private and tribal agricultural lands.
The projects are being funded under the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP), a program authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.
“Through locally led partnerships like these, USDA is targeting conservation in the places that make sense, allowing us to address local concerns,” Vilsack said. “These projects will improve water quality, prevent flooding, enhance wildlife habitat and meet increasing conservation challenges on over 19,000 acres of wetlands.”
Created by the 2014 Farm Bill, WREP is a special enrollment option under the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program’s Wetland Reserve Easement component.
Wetland reserve easements allow landowners to successfully enhance and protect habitats on their land.
The voluntary nature of such programs allows effective integration of wetland restoration on working landscapes, providing benefits to farmers and ranchers who enroll in the programs, as well as benefits to the local and rural communities where the wetlands exist.
From rural lifestylists to conservation-conscious communities, this $30 million in funding is a big win for everyone — especially for those in agriculture. As producers work towards a more sustainable balance in their own land management practices, programs such as this allow for greater flexibility and freedom in making important land-use decisions.
Learn more about the program and the six states it covers, here.