OR Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP): Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE)

USDA: Natural Resources Conservation Service of Oregon


Grant amount: Approximately US $75,000

Anticipated deadline: Mar 1, 2019

Applicant type: Indigenous Group Government Entity Nonprofit

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Oregon

Location of residency: Oregon

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Overview:

NOTE: Landowners and entities interested in applying for a conservation easement can submit applications any time; however, NRCS announces application cut-off dates throughout the year.

ACEP

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and wetlands and their related benefits. The program has two components. Under the Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) component, NRCS helps Native American Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations protect working agricultural lands and limit non-agricultural uses of the land. Under the Wetlands Reserve Easements (WRE) component, NRCS helps to restore, protect and enhance enrolled wetlands.

Wetlands Reserve Easements (WRE)

  • provide habitat for fish and wildlife, including threatened and endangered species,
  • 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.

Easement values for WRE are based on the lowest value of an appraisal, a Geographic Area Rate Cap (GARC), or a landowner offer. To determine Geographic Area Rate Caps, Oregon uses individual appraisals of offered acres. The appraiser is conducted by an independent appraiser and NRCS applies a percentage reduction to the appraised value for the property rights being acquired by USDA.

Through the WRE option, NRCS may enroll eligible land through:

  • Permanent Easements – Permanent Easements are conservation easements in perpetuity. NRCS pays 100 percent of the easement value for the purchase of the easement. Additionally, NRCS pays 100 percent of the restoration costs.
  • 30-year Easements – 30-year easements expire after 30 years. Under 30-year easements, NRCS pays 75 percent of the easement value for the purchase of the easement. Additionally, NRCS pays 75 percent of the restoration costs.
  • 30-year Contracts – 30-year contracts are only available to enroll acreage owned by Indian tribes. Program payment rates are commensurate with 30-year easements. Additionally, NRCS pays 75 percent of the restoration costs.
  • Grazing Reserved Rights Option- Oregon NRCS is offering a Grazing Reserved Rights Option in specific geographic areas of the state as part of WRE, the Southern Oregon Northeast California region. Permanent and 30-year easement options are available. For a grazing easement, NRCS pays 75% of the Permanent or 30-year easement values identified above. This option allows livestock grazing on enrolled land as part of an NRCS - approved wetlands conservation and grazing management plan.

For all Wetland Reserve Easements, NRCS pays all costs associated with recording the easement in the local land records office, including recording fees, charges for abstracts, survey and appraisal fees, and title insurance.

Matching Contributions and Waiver Information

NRCS can partner with a Cooperating Entity to contribute up to 50 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land easement. The Cooperating Entity must provide an amount that is at least equivalent to the Federal share. A Cooperating Entity may include as part of its share a qualified conservation contribution (donation) from the landowner if the entity contributes its own cash resources in an amount that is at least 50 percent of the Federal share. Under no circumstances may the eligible entity acquire its minimum cash contribution through additional cash contributions, payments, fees or loans paid by the landowner. Read additional information here

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.

Eligibility:

  • Land eligible for Wetland Reserve Easements includes farmed or converted wetland that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored.
  • To enroll land through Wetland Reserve Easements, NRCS enters into purchase agreements with eligible private landowners or Indian tribes that include the right for NRCS to develop and implement a wetland restoration plan.
    • This plan restores, protects, and enhances the wetland’s functions and values.

Preferences:

  • NRCS will prioritize applications based the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.