Frankfort, Kentucky - The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Kentucky is now accepting applications for the Wetland Reserve Program (WRP). Application ranking cutoff dates are March 27 and May 29. Applications are continually accepted; those applications received after the cutoff dates will be deferred until the next ranking cycle.
The Wetlands Reserve Program is a voluntary program offering landowners the opportunity to protect, restore and enhance wetlands on their property. Since 1996, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has provided Kentucky landowners more than $24 million to restore 16,000 acres of cropland, pastureland and other altered lands to their original wetland conditions.
The compensation portion of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 for this wetlands program is effective immediately and may be of special interest to local landowners. The 2008 Farm Bill authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to pay the fair market value of the land, as determined by an appraisal or an area-wide market analysis or survey, as compensation for a wetlands easement. The amount paid is limited to a geographic cap or the landowner offer, whichever is less. Landowners can view the geographic cap, which establishes the maximum easement payment NRCS will pay for the corresponding county, on the NRCS Kentucky webpage: http://www.ky.nrcs.usda.gov/programs. Scroll down to Wetlands Reserve Program.
Landowners can enroll their land under a permanent or 30-year easement option for a lump sum easement payment and up to 100 percent of the wetland restoration costs. Eligible lands include farmed wetlands, prior converted cropland, farmed wetland pasture, farmland that floods from rivers, farmland with somewhat poorly drained soils, and current or abandoned cropland with tile lines, drainage ditches, dikes, or similar alterations.
Landowners interested in the Wetlands Reserve Program should contact their Kentucky Fish and Wildlife private lands biologist or Farm Bill liaison biologist. Contact information is available online at www.fw.ky.gov or by contacting Kentucky Fish and Wildlife at 1-800-858-1549.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources manages, regulates, enforces and promotes responsible use of all fish and wildlife species, their habitats, public wildlife areas and waterways for the benefit of those resources and for public enjoyment. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, an agency of the Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet has an economic impact to the state of $4.5 billion annually. For more information on the department, visit our web site at fw.ky.gov.
Dan Figert (800) 858-1549 ext. 4534