USDA to invest $5M in the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program
NRCS accepting proposals through Oct. 10
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced that it is investing up to $5 million in the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program. This grant program supports the development of mitigation banks for use by agricultural producers seeking to maintain eligibility for USDA programs. Funds are available to Tribes, state and local government entities, nonprofits and other organizations.
“Our goal is to ensure that agricultural producers have the tools they need to successfully farm or ranch and conserve natural resources,” said Terry Cosby, chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. “This investment will help Tribes, states, local governments and other qualified partners work with producers to restore, create and enhance wetland ecosystems.”
To participate in most USDA programs, agricultural producers agree to comply with the wetland conservation provisions, which means producers will not farm converted wetlands or convert wetlands to enable agricultural production. In situations where avoidance or on-site mitigation is challenging, the farm bill allows for off-site mitigation through the purchase of mitigation banking credits.
Since 2016, NRCS has awarded 25 projects in 13 states. The 2018 farm bill provided an opportunity for funding for this program through fiscal year 2023. NRCS is prioritizing funds in states with large amounts of wetlands as well as large amounts of producers with wetland determination requests, including Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Awardees may use WMBP funding to support mitigation bank site identification, development of a mitigation banking instrument, site restoration, land surveys, permitting and title searches, and market research. WMBP funding cannot be used to purchase land or a conservation easement.
NRCS is accepting proposals from eligible entities through Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. ET on Oct. 10, 2022.
To learn more, visit the WMBP webpage at https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/programs/farmbill/?cid=nrcseprd362686. Also, read about how WMBP is making a difference in Georgia.
Under the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is engaged in a whole-of-government effort to combat the climate crisis and conserve and protect our nation’s lands, biodiversity and natural resources including our soil, air and water. Through conservation practices and partnerships, USDA aims to enhance economic growth and create new streams of income for farmers, ranchers, producers and private foresters. Successfully meeting these challenges will require USDA and our agencies to pursue a coordinated approach alongside USDA stakeholders, including state, local and Tribal governments.
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