2014 Farm Bill Programs
Wetland Reserve Program (WRP)
Purpose of Program
- The Wetland Reserve Program is a voluntary program in which landowners receive financial incentives to enhance or restore drained or degraded wetlands in exchange for retiring marginal agricultural land.
- Enrollment is limited to a 3.041 million acre cap.
- Wetlands farmed under natural conditions
- Cropland converted prior to December 23, 1985
- Farmed wetland pasture
- Riparian areas which link protected wetlands
- Lands adjacent to wetlands that contribute significantly to wetland function
- Federal lands, wetlands that were converted after December 23, 1985, CRP timberlands, land in CRP acreage capped counties, lands whose ownership has changed in the last 7 years, and lands impossible to restore are ineligible.
Contracts and Cost-Share
This program offers 3 different types of cost-sharing options:
- Permanent Easement - deed restriction placed on property. Easement payment will be the lesser of: fair market value of the land, an established payment cap or an amount offered by the landowner. USDA pays 100% of easement payment plus 100% of the restoration costs.
- 30-Year Easement - 30 year deed restriction. Easement payments and restoration costs are 75% of what would be paid for a permanent easement. Tribes can choose a 30 year contract in place of a 30 year easement.
- Restoration Cost-Share Agreement - generally at least 10 years in length. No deed restrictions. USDA pays 75% of the restoration costs. Owner provides restoration site without reimbursement. Restoration payments limited to $50,000 per year.
- Cost assistance is available for maintenance activities.
- WRP is run by Natural Resources Conservation Service.
- Applications can be filed year round at local NRCS/USDA Service Centers and Conservation District Offices.
- Applications are ranked once each year, usually during the summer with highest ranked applications receiving available money.
Common WRP Practices
- Wetland Development and Restoration
- Dikes and Water Control Structures
- Wildlife Wetland Habitat Management
- Tree Planting (where appropriate)
- Range Seeding
- Wildlife Upland Habitat Management
For more information contact:
Chuck Kowaleski, Farm Bill Coordinator
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
Phone: (254) 718-7684
- Natural Resources Conservation Service(NRCS) - Contact information from the US Dept. of Agriculture Service Center Locator for Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Rural Development agencies.
- Texas State Water and Soil Conservation Board - Texas Soil and Water Conservation Districts Locator Map and information.
- Farm Service Agency - FSA website for Texas Farm Service Agency Directory.