Landowners who would like to restore former wetlands on their property to their former state are encouraged to contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Landowners who submit applications by Oct. 12, will be eligible to enroll eligible land into the USDA Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) during fiscal year 2013.
WRP is administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Landowners who enroll land in the program receive financial assistance to restore land that was once wetland habitat back to its previous condition. Program participants also have the option of selling a permanent or 30-year easement of the restored wetlands to the USDA. Applicants seeking to enroll land in fiscal year 2013 should contact their local USDA Service Center as soon as possible to begin the application process.
Restoring wetlands can have many benefits for Michigan residents. Wetlands may improve water quality by filtering nutrients from runoff water, reduce flooding by storing water from storms and snow melt, help recharge underground aquifers and provide valuable habitat for a wide variety of wildlife.
Landowners who choose to enroll their land in a permanent easement can receive 100% of the cost for restoring their land to wetland habitat. The program pays 75% of the cost for restoring wetland habitat for land enrolled in 30-year easements or for land restored without an easement. Landowners are paid a fixed price for enrolling land with a permanent easement, which is based on the market price of farmland in their region of the state. Participants who enroll land in 30-year easements receive 75% of the rate paid for permanent easements.
Participants who sell permanent or long-term easements on land they enroll in WRP are allowed to use their land for recreation and other defined uses. They also retain the right to control access to their property.
For more information about WRP contact your local USDA Service Center or visit the NRCS-Michigan Web site at www.mi.nrcs.usda.gov.