NRCS funding available for wetland protection and habitat improvement projects in Colorado

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently announced that funding is available for wetland protection, restoration and enhancement activities on eligible lands in Colorado. Proposals for projects are due by Friday, February 10, 2012. Funding comes through the agency’s Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP), with up to $17 million available nationwide.

“This is a great opportunity for Colorado stakeholders, including farmers, ranchers, and private forestland owners, to carry out high-priority wetland protection and improve wildlife habitat,” state conservationist Phyllis Ann Philipps said. “WREP is just one of the many conservation tools provided for in the 2008 Farm Bill. This program targets our important wetland resources. We look forward to reviewing proposals submitted by the February deadline.”

WREP is a voluntary conservation program that works through partnership agreements with states, nongovernmental organizations and tribes, as defined in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. WREP is a component of the Wetlands Reserve Program through which NRCS enters into agreements with eligible partners to leverage resources to carry out high-priority wetland protection and improve wildlife habitat.

Benefits to partners in WREP agreements include:
·Wetland Restoration in high-priority areas;
·The ability to cost-share restoration or enhancement components beyond those required by NRCS;
·Participating in management or monitoring of selected project locations; and
·Opportunities to use innovative restoration methods and practices.

Eligible partners may submit general WREP proposals for individual, watershed-wide or larger geographical area projects. WREP partners are required to contribute a financial or technical assistance fund match. State NRCS staffs will use a competitive process to evaluate the proposals. Recommended proposals will then be competed nationally for final selection and funding.

To submit a proposal or receive information about General WREP, visit www.co.nrcs.usda.gov or contact Dawn Jackson, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, at 720-544-2805 or email at dawn.jackson@co.usda.gov.

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