Wetland program cutoff date March 15
DES MOINES — U.S. Depart-ment of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Des Moines announced March 15 as the next cutoff date to submit applications for the Wetlands Reserve Program, which helps Iowa landowners restore agricultural land to natural wetlands.
WRP is a voluntary program that provides technical and financial assistance to eligible private landowners and tribes to restore, protect and enhance wetlands in exchange for retiring eligible land from agriculture. WRP is a continuous signup program, although NRCS periodically makes funding selections as program funding allows.
During fiscal year 2012, NRCS enrolled easements on nearly 5,000 acres across Iowa at a value exceeding $21 million. During the past 20 years, close to 160,000 acres have been restored or are in the process of being restored to wetlands in Iowa through WRP and similar federal programs.
Wetlands provide habitat for wildlife, including threatened and endangered species; improve water quality by filtering sediments and chemicals; reduce flooding; recharge groundwater; protect biological diversity; and provide opportunities for educational, scientific and limited recreational activities.
To apply or to find out more about WRP eligibility and enrollment options, visit the local USDA Service Center or go online to www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/WRP.html.