Johnston County, North Carolina
The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) is a voluntary program offering landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands on their property. The program was authorized under the Food Security Act of 1985, as amended by the 1990 and 1996 farm bills.
In North Carolina, approximately 20,000 acres have WRP easements at this time.
WRP offers three options for landowners to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands and associated uplands:
In all cases, the landowner retains ownership and responsibility for the land. The landowner controls the access to the land (no public access is required); the right to hunt, fish, trap, or other recreational uses; and may sell or lease the land enrolled in WRP. In addition, the landowner may request other uses which are compatible with protecting and restoring the wetland.
WRP provides many additional benefits for the community - better water quality, enhanced wildlife habitat, reduced soil erosion, reduced flooding, and better water supply.
Technical and financial assistance for WRP is provided by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Additional technicalassistance for WRP in North Carolina is also provided through a cooperative agreement with Ducks Unlimited.
In 2001, North Carolina has about $1,500,000 available for WRP. WRP is available to landowners in all 100 counties of North Carolina.
USDA-NRCS administers WRP, in consultation with the Farm Service Agency (USDA-FSA) and other Federal agencies. Funding for WRP comes from the Commodity Credit Corporation.
Under WRP landowners receive a payment for the easement, as well as a cost-share payment for restoring the wetland. The payments from WRP are as follows:
All landowners who own eligible land are eligible for participation in WRP cost-share agreements. Landowners must own the land for at least one year to be eligible for a WRP easement.
To be eligible, land offered for WRP must be restorable and be suitable for wildlife benefits, and may not be Federal land, a wetland that was drained after December 23, 1985, or certain CRP contract lands. Wetlands in a natural condition are not eligible for enrollment in WRP, except as buffers to a restoration site.
Applications for WRP are accepted year-round. Periodically, applications are evaluated and ranked. The most environmentally and economically valuable wetlands are restored with the funds that are available.
For additional information, potential applicants should contact the local offices of :
(Information provided by: USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service)