Richmond, VA, March 13, 2017 – Virginia conservation partners now have a new opportunity to work with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to protect, restore, and enhance the state’s critical wetlands through conservation easements.
NRCS will offer technical and financial assistance to foster collaboration with states, local units of governments, non-governmental organizations, and American Indian tribes interested in promoting wetland preservation. Offered through the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP), this funding will enable partners to help landowners enroll wetlands into easements and adopt conservation practices that improve their function and condition.
“NRCS is the leading federal agency for wetland conservation on private lands,” said Jack Bricker, State Conservationist. “Through these locally-led partnerships, we are helping restore wetlands to improve water quality and wildlife habitat, while also providing flood prevention and recreational benefits to communities.”
The voluntary nature of NRCS’ easement programs enables effective integration of
wetland restoration on working landscapes, providing benefits to both enrolled farmers and ranchers and the communities in which the wetlands exist. Wetlands also provide critical habitat for at-risk species, including the American black duck, bog turtle, wood turtle, spotted turtle, and a variety of mussels and fish.
This year, NRCS is encouraging partners to propose projects focused on improving water quality and habitat on working landscapes in high-priority areas such as the Chesapeake Bay. Interested entities should submit proposals to the Virginia State Office by April 24, 2017. Virginia WREP applications must be emailed in PDF format to Diane Dunaway,
Easement Program Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WREP is part of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), offered through the 2014 Farm Bill. Visit the national ACEP webpage to learn more.