Due to revisions in the most recent Farm Plan that redefined lands eligible for acceptance in Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), now called Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE), counties that had previously capped out on those programs now have acres open for enrollment.
As landowners consider enrolling marginal acres in this program, a review of the WRE objectives is in order. Objectives of the WRE program are to protect, restore and enhance the functions and values of wetland ecosystems to attain the following:
- Habitat for migratory birds and other wetland-dependent wildlife
- Protection and improvement of water quality
- Attenuation of floodwater
- Recharge of ground water
- Protection and enhancement of open space and aesthetic quality
- Carbon sequestration
- Protection of native flora and fauna contributing to the nation’s natural heritage
- Contribution to educational and scientific knowledge
Since the WRP program was first introduced in the 1990 Farm Bill, it has proven to be successful in attaining these objectives and creating more bottomland hardwood habitat in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley.
Land eligible for wetland reserve easements includes farmed or converted wetland that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored. NRCS will prioritize applications based on the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. For more information contact your county USDA/NRCS office.