Extra $175 million to add another 75,000 acres to Wetlands Reserve Program

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p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;margin-bottom:6.0pt">Extra $175 million to add another 75,000 acres to Wetlands Reserve Program

By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, May 14 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced new funding Friday for the Natural Resources Conservation Service's (NRCS) Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) that will add an expected 75,000 additional acres to the approximately 2.2 million acres currently enrolled in the program. The funding will go to wetland conservation projects in 22 states and Puerto Rico.

“Healthy wetlands play several critical roles in protecting our environment, including improving water quality, preventing flooding and soil erosion, and creating and maintaining the best possible wildlife habitat,” Vilsack said. “Farmers, ranchers and other private landowners play a critical role in protecting our wetlands, and the funding announced today will provide even more opportunities to maximize wetland values and ensure that these important natural resources survive for generations to come.”

The funding availability announced today totals nearly $175 million, and will be distributed to the following states:

State

Globally Positioned Agriculture

Funding

Alabama

$ 4,925,233

Arkansas

$ 10,177,680

California

$ 10,177,680

Florida

$ 29,400,977

Georgia

$ 1,881,920

Indiana

$ 4,071,072

Iowa

$ 6,106,608

Kansas

$ 594,885

Kentucky

$ 3,053,304

Louisiana

$ 11,124,510

Minnesota

$ 5,088,840

Mississippi

$ 4,071,072

Missouri

$ 20,864,244

Nebraska

$ 18,319,824

New Hampshire

$ 1,781,094

North Carolina

$ 3,781,008

Oregon

$ 6,680,754

Puerto Rico

$ 668,202

South Carolina

$ 4,071,072

South Dakota

$ 4,071,072

Tennessee

$ 6,106,608

Texas

$ 14,738,553

Wisconsin

$ 3,053,304

Total

$ 174,809,516

Wetlands are areas saturated by water all or most of a year. Often called “nature's kidneys,” wetlands naturally filter contaminants out of water. Wetlands also recharge groundwater, prevent flooding and soil erosion, and slow the flow of water that runs across the surface of the land.

Funded through the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill) WRP is a voluntary program that helps landowners address wetland and wildlife natural resource concerns on private lands. WRP participants limit their future use of the land, but retain private ownership.

WRP offers permanent easements that pay 100 percent of the value of an easement and up to 100 percent of easement restoration costs, and 30-year easements that pay up to 75 percent of the value of an easement and up to 75 percent of easement restoration costs. WRP also offers restoration cost-share agreements to restore wetland functions and values without placing an easement on enrolled acres; NRCS pays up to 75 percent of restoration costs.

For additional information about WRP, go to: www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/wrp/.

For information about other NRCS conservation programs, visit: www.nrcs.usda.gov, or visit the nearest USDA Service Center in your area. 2010 represents the 75th year of NRCS “helping people help the land.” Since its inception in 1935, the NRCS conservation delivery system has advanced a unique partnership with state and local governments and private landowners delivering conservation based on specific, local conservation needs, while accommodating state and national interests.

Follow NRCS on Twitter at: twitter.com/usda_nrcs.

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