Indianapolis, IN, December 12, 2016 – State Conservationist Jane Hardisty announced today that Indiana’s USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is making available $13 million in financial and technical assistance through the Wetland Reserve Easement Program (WRE). NRCS will accept WRE applications to protect Indiana’s critical wetlands, home to diverse wildlife and plant species. Private landowners, tribes, and other eligible entities must submit applications for the current funding pool on or before January 13, 2017.
"Conservation easements are an important tool to help landowners and partners achieve their goals to protect their land for future generations,” Hardisty said. “NRCS helps guide landowners throughout the easement process. We provide technical expertise, conservation planning and financial assistance."
NRCS easement programs have been a critical tool in recent years for advancing conservation on private lands. In FY 2016, Indiana NRCS obligated $4.5 million in WRE funding to enroll 1,654 acres of wetlands in new easements. According to Hardisty over 74,000 acres in the state have been enrolled in conservation easements through NRCS.
Hardisty encourages farmers who have fields that are often wet or flooded or who are interested in providing wildlife habitat to consider a conservation easement. Wetland Reserve Easements allow landowners to successfully enhance and protect habitat for wildlife on their land, reduce impacts from flooding, recharge groundwater and provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities. NRCS provides technical and financial assistance directly to eligible landowners to restore, protect and enhance wetlands through a permanent or 30-year easement.
WRE applications may be submitted at any time to NRCS; however, applications for the current funding round must be submitted on or before January 13, 2017.
To learn about WRE and other technical and financial assistance available through Indiana NRCS conservation programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted or contact your District Conservationist Debbie Knepp at 574-936-2024 Ext. 4.
For more information about easements in Indiana, visit: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/in/programs/easements/.