The Natural Resources Conservation Service made available $10 million for a Wetlands Reserve Program reverse auction initiative to identify more effective and efficient methods of reducing the cost of WRP easement acquisition.
"The Wetlands Reserve Program is a voluntary program established for the purpose of protecting, restoring and enhancing wetlands, while maximizing wildlife benefits," explains NRCS Chief Bruce Knight. "This reverse WRP auction will allow the taxpayer and our farmers and ranchers to get even more for their investment."
The WRP reverse auction is being offered to eligible landowners in select counties of Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Idaho, California and Colorado. Eligible landowners should complete an application for the reverse auction at their local NRCS field offices. The sign-up period is July 3 through July 28, 2006. To be eligible for participation, lands must be privately owned, tribal land or State, county or non-federal public lands that meet WRP eligibility criteria.
Two types of enrollment options are available to eligible landowners: a 30-year easement where the landowner may receive 75% of the landowner offer for the enrolled land plus 75% of the cost of approved wetland restoration practices, or a perpetual easement where the landowner may receive 100% of the landowner offer for the enrolled land plus the cost of approved wetland restoration practices.
NRCS provides technical and financial support to help landowners achieve wetland restoration objectives. The purpose of the reverse auction is ultimately to reduce the easement acquisition costs and NRCS technical assistance costs. Interested landowners must conduct an environmental self assessment of the lands they wish to enroll in WRP and submit sealed bids that are less than the geographically determined bid cap.
Applications will be prioritized according to an environmental benefits index that is determined by dividing the landowner bid offer by the environmental self assessment score. For more information, contact your local USDA Service Center or go to: www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/WRP/ProgInfo/WRPProgramInfo.html.