2014 Farm Bill Programs
Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE)
Purpose of Program
- The Wetland Reserve Easement is a voluntary program in which landowners receive financial incentives to enhance or restore drained or degraded wetlands in exchange for retiring marginal agricultural land.
- Eligible lands consist of farmed wetlands or those converted previously to December 23, 1985, croplands flooded by the natural overflow of a closed basin lake or pothole, expiring CRP with high wetland values that is likely to return to production, riparian areas linking wetlands, and other incidental wetlands and upland areas as needed to improve wetland function or efficient administration of the easement.
- Ineligible lands: Land established to trees under CRP except as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture, or wetlands converted after December 23, 1985.
- Landowner must have owned the land 2 years unless it meets certain exemptions.
- Not more than 10% of the cropland in a county can be enrolled in WRE. This limitation does not apply to cropland with severe use limitations due to soil saturation or inundation.
Contracts and Cost-Share
- This program offers 2 different types of cost-sharing options:
- Permanent Easement - Landowner receives 100% of the lowest of either: the fair market value; geographic rate cap; or an offer made by the landowner. Eligible for 75 - 100% of restoration and maintenance costs.
- 30-Year Easement - Landowner receives not less than 50% - 75% of the above compensation amounts and 50% - 75% of the restoration and maintenance costs.
- WRE is run by Natural Resources Conservation Service.
- Applications can be filed year round at local NRCS/USDA Service Centers and Conservation District Offices. See link to NRCS offices below.
Common WRP Practices
- Wetland Development and Restoration
- Dikes and Water Control Structures
- Wildlife Wetland Habitat Management
- Wildlife Upland Habitat Management
Texas NRCS Easement Programs Manager
Phone: (254) 742-9822
- Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) - Contact information from the US Dept. of Agriculture Service Center Locator for Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Rural Development agencies.