The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law established both the PROTECT Formula and Discretionary Grant Programs. The PROTECT Discretionary Grants Program funds projects on a competitive basis that address the climate crisis by … Read more
A subset of the Agricultural Easement Program, the Wetland Reserve Easement Program (WRE) provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve wetlands and their related benefits. WRE helps restore, protect and enhance enrolled wetlands directly to private landowners and Indian tribes through the purchase of a wetland reserve easement.
Administered by USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service(NRCS), NRCS may enroll eligible land through:
- Permanent Easements – Permanent easements are conservation easements in perpetuity. NRCS pays 100% of the easement value for the purchase of the easement. Additionally, NRCS pays between 75 to 100% of the restoration costs.
- 30-year Easements – 30-year easements expire after 30 years. Under 30-year easements, NRCS pays 50 to 75% of the easement value for the purchase of the easement. Additionally, NRCS pays between 50 to 75% of the restoration costs.
- Term Easements – Term easements are easements that are for the maximum duration allowed under applicable state laws. NRCS pays 50 to 75% of the easement value for the purchase of the term easement. Additionally, NRCS pays between 50 to 75% of the restoration costs.
- 30-year Contracts – 30-year contracts are only available to enroll acreage owned by Indian tribes, and program payment rates are commensurate with 30-year easements.
- For wetland reserve easements, NRCS pays all costs associated with recording the easement in the local land records office, including recording fees, charges for abstracts, survey and appraisal fees, and title insurance.
Individuals, state and local governments, U.S. territories, tribal government and non-profit organizations are all eligible recipients.
Approx Annual Funding Amount
Set annually, funds typically range between $10 and $20 million each year. The Inflation Reduction Act provided $1.4 billion in funding to the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, which includes the WRE program.
Cost Share Requirements
Partner contributions must equal at least 10% of the total estimated costs for easement acquisition related costs and restoration implementation costs. Proposals that provide partner contributions greater than 10% will be given higher consideration in the selection process.
Applicants may apply at any time through their local USDA Service Center.
This program is covered under the Justice40 Initiative.