Landowners in Missouri can enhance wildlife habitat and water quality on their existing wetland easements through new funding from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
The agencies have partnered to provide $925,000 to Missouri private landowners as part of NRCS' Wetland Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP), which provides landowners with opportunities to enhance existing Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) easements. This funding marks the first year in an anticipated three-year project that will provide more than $2.7 million directly to Missouri private landowners for conservation.
WREP is available in the following counties: Bates, Bollinger, Boone, Buchanan, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Carroll, Chariton, Cooper, Dunklin, Henry, Holt, Howard, Johnson, Knox, Lafayette, Lincoln, Linn, Livingston, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Pike, Platte, St. Charles, St. Louis, Saline, Scott, Shelby, Stoddard, and Vernon.
Qualifying landowners must have an existing WRP easement and sign up for the program at their local NRCS office by March 15 to be eligible for this year's funding. Locations and contacts are available at offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?agency=nrcs.
"Wetland restoration techniques have improved drastically over the past 30 years," said MDC Private Land Services Division Chief Bill White. "The WREP is designed to improve older WRP wetlands with habitat features that will create diverse water levels and vegetation. This improved wildlife habitat will support the hundreds of fish and wildlife species that utilize wetland habitat in Missouri."
NRCS State Conservationist J.R. Flores said, "NRCS and MDC both have strong histories in Missouri in working with private landowners to restore wetlands. I am excited that, through this program, we have an opportunity to work together to help landowners return wetlands to an even more natural state."