NJ Agricultural Conservation Easement Program: Wetlands Reserve Easement (WRE)

USDA: Natural Resources Conservation Service of New Jersey


Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Anticipated deadline: Nov 30, 2018

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program

Location of project: New Jersey

Location of residency: New Jersey

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Overview:

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, Wetlands Reserve Easement (WRE) component is a voluntary program that provides an opportunity for landowners to receive financial assistance to enhance wetlands in exchange for retiring marginal land from agricultural production. WRE provides technical and financial assistance to eligible landowners to address wetland, wildlife habitat, soil, water, and related natural resource concerns on private lands in an environmentally beneficial and cost-effective manner

Benefits 

  • Receive financial and technical assistance for protecting and restoring wetland functions and values 
  • Reduce problems associated with farming potentially difficult areas
  • 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

Enrollment Options

Through the wetland reserve easement component, landowners may enroll eligible land to grant the United States a conservation easement to restore, protect, manage, maintain, enhance, and monitor the wetland and other natural values of the easement area. Applicants may enroll their entire land area or a portion of their land. There is no minimum size area required for enrollment.

For 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. 

  • Permanent Easements – Through permanent easements, NRCS will pays 100 percent of the easement value to the landowner to convey the easement. Additionally, NRCS pays between 75 to 100 percent of the restoration costs. 
  • 30-year Easements – Under 30-year easements, NRCS pays 50 to 75 percent of the easement value for the purchase of the easement. Additionally, NRCS pays between 50 to 75 percent of the restoration costs.

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

Eligibility:

  • Eligibility:
    • The land must be privately owned.
    • To offer a conservation easement, the private landowner must have been owned by the same individual or entity for at least 24 months prior to enrolling it in the program, except in certain circumstances.
  • Eligible land includes:
    • Wetlands farmed under natural conditions 
    • Converted cropland
    • Farmed wetland pasture
    • Farmland that has become a wetland as a result of flooding
    • Riparian areas which link protected wetlands
    • Forested wetlands
    • Pasture or production forest land where the hydrology has been significantly degraded
    • Lands adjacent to protected wetlands that contribute significantly to wetland functions and values
    • Previously restored wetlands that need long-term protection