A L E X A N D R I A —The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Louisiana has announced an application period for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program-Wetlands Reserve Easements (ACEP-WRE) in fiscal year 2021. Private landowners across the state are encouraged to apply.
Applications for ACEP-WRE will be accepted on a continuous basis with monthly batching periods. Interested landowners are encouraged to apply by Friday, September 25, 2020, for 2021 funding consideration in the October application batching period. Applications received after this date will be evaluated for consideration in the next application batching period.
The ACEP-WRE program is designed to restore and protect wetlands. Eligible lands include farmed or converted wetlands that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored. The WRE program helps private landowners successfully:
· enhance and protect habitat for fish and wildlife (including threatened and endangered species)
· improve water quality
· reduce flooding
· recharge groundwater
· provide opportunities for educational and recreational activities.
NRCS provides technical and financial assistance directly to private and tribal landowners to restore, protect and enhance wetlands through the purchase of these easements. Eligible landowners can choose to enroll in a permanent or 30-year easement.
“NRCS assists farmers, ranchers and forest landowners through the WRE program by developing highly productive wildlife habitat, reducing the risk of farming flood-prone land, and improving environmental benefits while retaining private ownership,” explained Chad Kacir, State Conservationist in Louisiana. “WRE is an important tool that helps landowners voluntarily provide long-term protection for our state’s wetlands for future generations.”
Easement rates vary by region, but landowners may receive up to $3,950 per acre for enrolling eligible land in WRE. Additionally, NRCS will pay 100 percent of the restoration cost for permanent easements and 75 percent of the restoration cost for 30-year easements.
For more information on ACEP-WRE visit the NRCS ACEP webpage or your local NRCS office.