USDA announces new conservation assistance funding is now available

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COLUMBUS — USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Ohio State Conservationist Terry Cosby has announced the availability of Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP) funding to enter into agreements with eligible partners to carry out high priority wetland protection, restoration and enhancement activities on eligible lands.

“Nationally, up to $17 million is available through General WREP for wetlands restoration and enhancements on a competitive basis,” said Cosby. “Eligible partners are encouraged to submit WREP proposals to our state office by Feb. 10. The proposals will be evaluated by Ohio NRCS staff using a competitive process with recommended proposals being forwarded to the national NRCS office for review, ranking and final selection.”

Conservation program

WREP is a voluntary conservation program that works through partnership agreements with states, nongovernmental organizations and tribes. It is a component of the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) through which NRCS enters into agreements with eligible partners to leverage resources to carry out high priority wetland protection and improve wildlife habitat.

General WREP proposals may be submitted by eligible partners for individual projects, watershed-wide or larger geographical area. Written proposals may be made to the Ohio NRCS State Office, 200 North High Street, Room 522, Columbus, OH, 43215 or danielle.balduff@oh.usda.gov by 5 p.m. Feb. 10.

Details to remember

Proposals submitted by fax or through the www.grants.gov website will not be accepted.

Benefits to the partners in WREP Agreements include:

• Involvement in wetland restoration in high priority areas

• Ability to cost-share restoration or enhancement components beyond those required by NRCS

• Ability to participate in management or monitoring of selected project locations

• Opportunity to utilize innovative restoration methods and practices. WREP partners are required to contribute a financial or technical assistance fund match.

For more additional information about General WREP or to apply, visit www.oh.nrcs.usda.gov/programs or contact Danielle Balduff, at 614-255-2574 or e-mail at danielle.balduff@oh.usda.gov.

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