Michigan Conservation Districts, local partners with the USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Services, celebrate the 20 year milestone of the USDA-Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP).
The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) is administered by the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). In Michigan, NRCS works closely at the local level with Michigan Conservation Districts to provide landowners and managers with information, skilled technical assistance and financial assistance to allow for the better management of Michigan’s natural resources.
WRP is a federal program, made possible through the Farm Bill. WRP has proven to be a successful restoration and protection tool, restoring 2.6 million acres of wetlands habitat across the United States and over 41,000 acres in Michigan.
“WRP is an outstanding opportunity, providing technical and financial assistance to help private landowners to voluntarily restore and protect wetlands,” said Lori Phalen, Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts. “This program is a powerful tool in our toolbox and has been used successfully to protect vital wetland resources in Michigan.”
The program provides restoration and protection opportunities, through either a permanent or limited time frame easement, with the landowner retaining ownership of the land once the easement is in place. In the 20-year history of WRP, more than 11,000 landowners across the nation have participated.
Lands eligible for WRP include prior converted cropland, pasture or forest productions lands where the hydrology has been altered, riparian areas that link protected wetlands, certain lands that have the potential to become a wetland as a result of flooding, and lands adjacent to protected wetlands that would contribute significantly to wetland function and values.
“I encourage those interested in learning more about WRP and the benefits of wetland restoration and protection to contact their local Conservation District and NRCS office,” said Phalen. “Restoring a wetland is definitely worth exploring and the end result is, well an amazing thing to see.”
To learn more about the opportunities available through the Wetland Reserve Program, contact your local Conservation District and USDA-NRCS office.
For further information on the Wetland Reserve Program, check out the following links: