Funding available for Wetland Restoration projects

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service District Conservationist, Jerry Hall announced that funding is available to enroll agricultural land in batture areas along the Mississippi River in the Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP) to restore the land to its natural wetland functions.

Batture lands are the lands that lie between the river and the levee,” said Hall.  “This land is prone to flooding and can be a tremendous financial drain on a farmer or rancher.  This project offers landowners an opportunity for financial assistance to restore the land to its natural wetland state.”

On Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced over $20 million in funding for a Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP) project with the Mississippi River Trust to restore hardwood forests and wetlands in Mississippi River batture lands in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

The land enrolled in the batture lands WREP will provide flood protection, reduce soil erosion, and improve water quality for local areas and neighboring communities, as well as restore migration and winter habitat for neotropical songbirds, shorebirds, and waterfowl species.   

NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year; however, the first application ranking period for this project will end June 18, 2012.  To be considered in the first application ranking pool, applications must be received by June 18, 2012. 

The Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP) is part of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Wetlands Reserve Program.  Interested agricultural producers should contact District Conservationist Jerry Hall at 225-687-2184, ext. 3 or visit the Addis Field Office.