Wednesday, November 18, 2015

MDC to receive $2.4 million from USDA for wetlands on private land

Wetland restoration techniques have improved drastically over the past 25 years. This photo of a wetland restoration in Carroll County shows the new restoration approach using shallow, landscape-based wetlands on the right next to the old-style, deeper, straight-lined wetlands on the left.
Conservation Department and Ducks Unlimited will add $700,000 for Missouri landowners.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo -- This October, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will receive $2.4 million for projects that protect, restore, and enhance wetlands in Missouri. The projects will be funded under the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP) administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Missouri is one of only six states to receive WREP funding this year.
The WREP provides financial assistance to landowners interested in restoring the hydrology and improving wildlife habitat on their Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) easements. MDC, in cooperation with Ducks Unlimited, will provide an additional $700,000 in matching funds -- bringing the total investment in wetland restoration to $3.1 million over the next three years.
"This is a fine example of how we will accomplish much more by working in partnership than any of us would be able to accomplish individually," NRCS State Conservationist J.R. Flores said. "The newer wetlands provide a wide range of benefits to wildlife and the land. NRCS is pleased to be working with landowners and our partners to get more of these wetlands on the land."
According to MDC, wetland restorations completed in the early 1990s were primarily designed to provide uniform water levels within a single-ring levee.
"Wetland restoration techniques have improved drastically over the past 25 years," said MDC Private Land Services Division Chief Bill White. "WREP provides a great opportunity to enhance these older sites and restore them in a way that better mimics natural wetland systems. Wetlands that provide diverse water levels and vegetation provide wildlife habitat for a larger suite of waterbirds including ducks, geese, and shore birds."
MDC and NRCS have a successful history of restoring wetlands through the WREP. In past years, WREP has helped restore thousands of acres of existing wetlands in a number of north Missouri counties. The current WREP is expanded so landowners with WRP easements located within 30 counties across the state will now be eligible to apply for funding to enhance their wetlands. The eligible counties are: Bates, 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.
NRCS, MDC, and Ducks Unlimited will work together to provide assistance to private landowners to restore and enhance at least 10,000 acres of wetland habitat on existing WRP easements.
"The successful partnership between NRCS, MDC, and our private conservation organizations ensure Missouri landowners receive the best opportunities available to improve the wildlife habitat and natural resources on their properties," said White.
Missouri landowners may apply for the new WREP this winter.
For additional information, contact your local NRCS office or MDC Private Lands Conservationist. To find local MDC contacts, go to mdc.mo.gov under LOCAL CONTACT.