Funding for USDA Wetland Reserve Easements now available to Ohio landowners

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Ohio Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced a special set-aside funding pool for  landowners interested in restoring, enhancing, and protecting wetlands through the Wetlands Reserve Easement Program (WRE). This year, Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funding has provided additional financial opportunities for the program, as wetlands play a critical role in climate mitigation. The first application cutoff date to receive fiscal year 2024 funding for both the WRE and WRE-IRA program is November 15, 2023.  

Wetland Reserve Easements can help landowners protect land from climate impacts by reducing, capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emissions. Additional benefits include land development protection, critical wildlife habitat preservation and water quality improvement

“Wetlands are one of nature’s most productive ecosystems and provide improved water quality and improved wildlife habitat,” said John Wilson, NRCS State Conservationist in Ohio. “We hope to reap these benefits and more by assisting landowners with creating and restoring these critical habitats.” 

Many of the state’s landowners can take advantage of this program, as eligible lands include farmed or converted wetlands that can successfully be restored; croplands or grasslands subject to flooding; and previously restored wetlands and riparian areas that connect protected wetland areas. 

WRE enrollment options include permanent easements, 30-year easements, and 30-year contracts. NRCS staff are available to help landowners plan and implement individual projects. The agency will pay a percent of the land’s value as well as restoration costs for each easement option. 

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