USDA funding available for Colorado landowners to help protect wetlands and wildlife habitat

Clint Evan, state conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Colorado, recently announced the opportunity for enrollment into the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program Wetlands Reserve Easement Program. Applications must be submitted by 4 p.m. on March 1 to your local NRCS field office located within the USDA Service that services your county.

ACEP-WRE provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and wetlands and their related benefits. Wetland reserve easements provide habitat for fish and wildlife including threatened and endangered species. They help improve water quality by filtering sediments and chemicals, reduce flooding, recharge groundwater, protect biological diversity and provide opportunities for educational, scientific and limited recreational activities.

ACEP-WRE enrollment options include permanent easements, 30-year easements, term easements and 30-year contracts. NRCS pays a certain percent of the purchase value as well as restoration costs for each easement option.

Land eligible for wetland reserve easements includes farmed or converted wetland that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored. NRCS will prioritize applications based the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.

For more information, application documents and forms, please visit ACEP-WRE in Colorado or contact David Colburn, NRCS easement coordinator in Colorado at [email protected] or 720-544-2820. Applications must be submitted by March 1 to local NRCS field offices located within USDA Service Centers. Postmarked applications sent via mail will not be accepted.