Wetlands Reserve Program

 

To assist landowners in restoring and protecting wetlands on eligible lands on which they agree to enter into a permanent or 30- yearlong-term easement (30- year contract for Indian tribes) , or a restoration cost-share agreement with the Secretary. The goal of WRP is to maximize wetland functions and values and wildlife benefits on every acre enrolled in the program. Total acreage enrollment limitation is 3,041,200 acres.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Active
Program Number
10.072
Federal Agency/Office
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Office: Natural Resources Conservation Service
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
Cooperative Agreements
Program Accomplishments
Not Applicable.
Authorization
Food Security Act of 1985
This program was repealed by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill), effective February 7, 2014. Therefore, no new enrollments are authorized for this program after that date.Title XII, Part Subtitle D, Section 1237, Public Law 99-198, 99 Stat. 1504, 16 U.S.C 3831. , Title XII, Part Subtitle D, Section 1237, Public Law 99-198, 99 Stat. 1504, 16 U.S.C 3831.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
An individual landowner, partnership, association, corporation, estate, trust, other business or other legal entities and, Indian tribe. This program was repealed by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill), effective February 7, 2014. Therefore, no new enrollments are authorized for this program after that date. Implementation of contracts entered into prior to that date will continue.
Beneficiary Eligibility
An individual landowner, partnership, association, corporation, estate, trust, other business enterprises or other legal entities and, Indian tribe. This program was repealed by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill), effective February 7, 2014. Therefore, no new enrollments are authorized for this program after that date. Implementation of contracts entered into prior to that date will continue.
Credentials/Documentation
The landowner must have owned the land offered for at least the preceding 7 years prior to the end of the period in which the intent to participate in an easement is declared unless the land was acquired by will or succession as a result of the death of the previous owner; or the Department determines that the new owner did not acquire such land for the purpose of placing it in the WRP. The 7 year requirement is not applicable to restoration agreement. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.
2 CFR 200 applies only to the program activities implemented through a Cooperative Agreement. This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is not applicable. An environmental impact assessment is required for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
Application Procedure
This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. Not applicable. This program was repealed by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill), effective February 7, 2014. Therefore, no new enrollments are authorized for this program after that date. Implementation of contracts entered into prior to that date will continue. OMB Circular No. A-102 applies to this program. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-110. 2 CFR 200 applies only to the program activities implemented through a Cooperative Agreement.
Award Procedure
Not applicable. This program was repealed by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill), effective February 7, 2014. Therefore, no new enrollments are authorized for this program after that date. Implementation of contracts entered into prior to that date will continue.
Deadlines
Not Applicable.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Not applicable. This program was repealed by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill), effective February 7, 2014. Therefore, no new enrollments are authorized for this program after that date. Implementation of contracts entered into prior to that date will continue.
Appeals
Landowner may appeal certain determinations to the National Appeals Division.
Renewals
Not applicable. This program was repealed by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill), effective February 7, 2014. Therefore, no new enrollments are authorized for this program after that date. Implementation of contracts entered into prior to that date will continue.
How are proposals selected?
Not applicable. This program was repealed by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill), effective February 7, 2014. Therefore, no new enrollments are authorized for this program after that date. Implementation of contracts entered into prior to that date will continue.
How may assistance be used?
Eligible landowners may offer farmed wetlands, prior converted wetlands, wetlands farmed under natural condition, former or degraded wetlands on lands that have been used or are currently being used for the production of food and fiber, including cropland, rangeland and forest production land, lands substantially altered by flooding, certain riparian areas, along with certain adjacent areas. The goal of the WRP is to achieve the greatest wetlands functions and values, along with optimum wildlife habitat on every acre enrolled in the program. At least 70 percent of the wetland and upland areas will be restored to the natural condition to the extent practicable; the remaining 30 percent of the project area may be restored to other than natural conditions. Enrollment options include permanent easements, 30-year easements, restoration cost-share agreements, and, for acreage owned by Indian Tribes, 30-year contracts. To be eligible for participation, land must be restorable and be suitable for wildlife benefits. Participating landowners must comply with the terms and conditions of their easement, agreement or contract for the duration of the document. For easement projects, landowners shall ensure the easement is superior to the rights of all others and shall agree to implement a wetland restoration plan designed to restore and maintain the easement area. Landowners must agree to a permanent retirement of crop acreage bases, allotments, and quotas to the extent that the sum of the crop acreage bases and allotments will not exceed the remaining
cropland on the farm.

Participating landowners receive financial and technical assistance to install necessary restoration practices as follows.
• Permanent easements: Easement duration is in perpetuity. Landowners receive an easement payment after the easement is filed. In addition NRCS shall share the cost of carrying out the establishment conservation measures and practices, and the protection of wetland functions and values including necessary maintenance activities to the extent that the Secretary determines that cost-sharing is appropriate and in the public interest.
• 30-year easements: Easement duration is 30 years. Landowners receive an easement payment after the easement is filed that is the equivalent of 75 percent of the value for a permanent easement and up to 75 percent of the eligible restoration costs.
• Restoration cost-share agreements: Restoration cost-share agreements are made available to participating landowners as an alternative mechanism to restore wetlands, without requiring the participant to sell an easement. Agreements are generally for a 10-year period, although longer agreement periods may be required for unique projects that are funded at a higher level. There is no easement payment; however, NRCS pays up to 75 percent of the eligible restoration costs.
• 30-year contracts: Acreage owned by Indian Tribes can be enrolled through the use of a 30-year contract which shall be equivalent in value to a 30-year easement.

For both permanent and 30-year easements, WRP pays for all the overhead costs associated with recording the easement in the local land records office including recording fees, charges for title abstracts, surveys, appraisal fees, records searches, and title insurance associated with acquiring an easement. These overhead costs are generally not paid to participants but are provided directly to the vendor performing the service. Therefore, payments appearing on USDAspending.gov will be reflective of payments to participants and payments to vendors for services associated with restoration and management activities and administrative costs associated with recording an easement.

Eligible applicants must be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions in 7 CFR part 12 and the Adjusted Gross Income provisions in 7 CRP part 1400. They must be the landowner of the eligible land being offered for participation. For easement applications, the applicant must have owned the land for the 7-year period prior to the time the land is determined eligible for enrollment unless it is determined that the land was acquired by will or succession as a result of death of the previous owner; the ownership change occurred due to foreclosure and the owner of the land immediately before foreclosure exercises a right of redemption from the mortgage holder; or the land was acquired under circumstances that give adequate assurances, as determined by NRCS that such land was not acquired for the purposes of placing it in the program.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Reporting
No reports are required.
Auditing
In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133. 2 CFR 200 applies only to the program activities implemented through a Cooperative Agreement. Recipients are subject to audit by the Office of Inspector General, USDA.
Records
Records will be maintained in the county NRCS office, State NRCS office and Federal Record Centers for the length of the agreement. The easement (deed restriction) and applicable documents will be filed in the local land records office for the duration of the easement. Agreements are filed with the Agency.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
This program has no statutory formula.
Matching Requirements: This program was repealed by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill), effective February 7, 2014. Therefore, no new enrollments are authorized for this program after that date. Implementation of contracts entered into prior to that date will continue. This program has no statutory formula. Matching Requirements: Lump sum payments or no less than 5 nor more than 30 annual payments of equal or unequal value are made for easements. Cost-share payments of 100 percent of the cost of implementing the Wetland Restoration Plan will be paid for a permanent easement with 75 percent of permanent easement amounts being paid for 30-year easements, 30-year contracts and restoration cost-share agreements. MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Cash easement payments will be made in a lump sum amount, or in annual installments beginning at closing. Cost share payments for implementation of easement practices will be made when a specific practice has been implemented by either the landowner or contractor. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Cash easement payments will be made in a lump sum amount, or in annual installments beginning at closing. Cost share payments for implementation of easement practices will be made when a specific practice has been implemented by either the landowner or contractor. See the following for information on how assistance is awarded/released: Cash easement payments will be made in a lump sum amount, or in annual installments beginning at closing. Cost share payments for implementation of easement practices will be made when a specific practice has been implemented by either the landowner or contractor.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
See Regional Agency Offices. See Regional Agency Offices. Consult the local telephone directory for location of the NRCS office. If no listing, contact the appropriate State NRCS office listed in the NRCS Section of Appendix IV of the Catalog.
Headquarters Office
Jessica Groves USDA-NRCS14th and Independence Ave., SW. , Washington, District of Columbia 20250 Email: Easement.Support@wdc.usda.gov Phone: 202-720-1882
Website Address
http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/easements/wetlands/
Financial Information
Account Identification
12-1004-0-1-302; 12-4336-0-1-302; 12-1080-0-1-302.
Obligations
(Salaries) FY 14 $24,070,000; FY 15 est $90,925,000; and FY 16 est $0. (Cooperative Agreements) FY 14 $37,763,000; FY 15 est $135,714,000; and FY 16 est $200,000,000
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Not Applicable.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Regulations published in the Federal Register and 7 CFR XIV.
Examples of Funded Projects
Not Applicable.

 


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