USDA announces funding for 13 wetland restoration, conservation projects covering 16,500 acres; Natural Resources Conservation Service will deliver US$15M in 2012, additional funds over next four years

Wendy Lisney

Wendy Lisney

Apr 25, 2012 – USDA

WASHINGTON , April 25, 2012 (press release) – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced funding for 13 partnership agreements for high-priority wetland restoration and conservation work in 12 states. The USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and a network of partners have nearly $15 million in financial and technical assistance available for these projects in 2012 and will enter into long-term agreements to deliver additional assistance over the next four years.

"These projects were selected because of their significant contribution towards wetlands restoration, enhancement or protection," Vilsack said. "This partnership effort combines Federal resources with the funding and expertise of others needed to improve water quality, prevent flooding, and enhance wildlife habitat on more than 16,500 acres of wetlands."

The Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP) is a special component of the NRCS' Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP). Through WRP, private landowners can restore and permanently protect wetlands. WREP works differently—partners, such as nongovernmental organizations and state agencies, contribute technical and financial assistance to leverage NRCS' funding. These partners identify special WREP project areas where they plan to focus wetlands restoration and protection efforts. Private landowners located within awarded areas can work with NRCS and the partner to restore and protect wetlands. Participants retain ownership and access to the land and may be able to generate income from grazing or recreation approved by NRCS.

From extensive restoration in the Florida Everglades to ongoing efforts around the Gulf of Mexico Initiative, USDA is working with state and local governments and private landowners to conserve and protect our nation's natural resources – helping preserve our land, and clean our air and water.

Next month, the NRCS celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Wetlands Reserve Program. More than 11,000 of America's private landowners have voluntarily enrolled over 2.3 million acres into the WRP. The cumulative benefits of these wetlands reach well beyond their boundaries to improve watershed health, the vitality of agricultural lands and the aesthetics and economies of local communities.

Landowners may apply at their local NRCS office (find your nearest NRCS service center at http://go.usa.gov/m2Y) or by contacting the proposal partner listed below.

Learn more about WREP at http://go.usa.gov/m24 and find out about other NRCS programs and initiatives at http://go.usa.gov/m22.

Colorado

Lower South Platte

Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory

$34,241

Georgia

Arabia Bay

Georgia Forestry Commission

$2,077,500

Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota

Missouri River Flood Recovery

The Nature Conservancy

$2,920,036

Iowa

Southern Prairie Pothole Wetland Initiative

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

$1,038,000

Maryland

Nassawango/Dividing Creek

The Nature Conservancy

$500,000

Nebraska

Working Lands Approach to Restoration – Rainwater Basin

Nebraska Association of Resource Districts

$538,503

Nebraska

Integrated Monitoring and Management – Rainwater Basin 1

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

$40,000

New Hampshire

Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire

Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire

$1,258,733

North Carolina

Coastal Federation Proposal

North Carolina Coastal Federation

$50,000

Pennsylvania

Monitoring Bog Turtle

Mid-Atlantic Center for Herpetology and Conservation

$40,000

Pennsylvania

Ohio River Watershed Initiative

The Trust for Tomorrow

$80,000

South Dakota

East Dakota Water Development District

East Dakota Water Development District

$2,239,200

Texas

Gulf Coast Conservation Initiative

Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program

$4,000,000

Total $14,816,213


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