USDA seeks project proposals to protect and restore critical wetlands

SPOKANE – State Conservationist Roylene Rides at the Door with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service today announced funding available in Washington State for technical and financial assistance to help protect, restore and enhance critical wetlands on agricultural lands.

 Funding will be provided through the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP​), part of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), a Farm Bill conservation program.

NRCS is the leading federal agency for wetland conservation on private lands. Through WREP, states, local units of governments, non-governmental organizations and American Indian tribes collaborate with NRCS through cooperative and partnership agreements. These partners work with tribal and private landowners who voluntarily enroll eligible land into easements to protect, restore and enhance wetlands on their properties.

 Restored wetlands improve water quality downstream and improve wildlife habitat, while also providing flood prevention and recreational benefits to communities.

 “WREP provides our partners with the financial resources needed to voluntarily conserve Washington’s wetlands” Rides at the Door said.

 Easements enable landowners to adopt a variety of conservation practices that improve the function and condition of wetlands. The voluntary nature of NRCS’ easement programs enables effective integration of wetland restoration on working landscapes, providing benefits to farmers and ranchers who enroll in the program, as well as benefits to the local and rural communities where the wetlands exist.

This year, NRCS is encouraging partners to propose projects that focus on improving water quality and habitat where at-risk species rely on wetlands.

Proposals must be submitted to the Washington NRCS state office located at 316 W. Boone Ave, Ste 450, Spokane, WA 99208 by April 24, 2017. More information is available on the ACEP webpage.