WREP is a voluntary conservation program which is a component of WRP. WREP leverages resources of eligible partners to provide financial and technical assistance to eligible landowners to protect, restore, and enhance high priority wetlands and improve wildlife habitat. WREP partners are required to contribute a financial match of at least 5 percent of the acquisition or restoration costs toward the project. Proposals which include additional partner resources will be given higher priority consideration in the selection process. Contributions provided by the partners to achieve additional points can be in the form of technical or financial assistance for the protection, restoration, and enhancement of the wetland. They can also be used for management and monitoring activities. These contributions can be in-kind services or cash.
WREP financial and technical assistance is delivered to eligible landowners in approved project areas through easement acquisition, conservation program contracts, cooperative agreements, contribution agreements, or Federal contracts. Restoration may be achieved through payments to other parties who conduct the restoration activities.
Only States and local units of government, Indian tribes, and nongovernmental organizations are eligible to submit a proposal and enter into agreements with NRCS. A nongovernmental organization is an organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. Individual landowners may not submit WREP proposals through this submission process. However, once a WREP project has been approved and announced, eligible landowners may apply for WREP through their local NRCS office. As part of the agreement, approved partners may also help facilitate the submission of landowner applications, provide additional technical or financial assistance to landowners, and provide other resources as defined in the agreement.
Written proposals are to be submitted by eligible partners, and project evaluation will be based upon a competitive process and the criteria established in this notice. Potential partners may submit WREP proposals for an individual landowner project, watershed, or geographic area to the appropriate State Conservationist. Once NRCS selects a partner’s proposal, landowners within the selected project area may submit an application directly to NRCS for participation in WRP. Individual landowner applications will be evaluated and ranked among other applicants in the watershed or geographic project area, when applicable, to ensure that the properties selected for funding will achieve project objectives.
Wetland restoration and enhancement actions will be designed to maximize wildlife habitat values and water quality according to the WRP regulation, 7 CFR part 1467, and NRCS standards and specifications. Proposals must conform to the WRP guidelines for restoration and management of lands subject to a WRP easement.
Benefits to the partners in WREP agreements include:
• Involvement in wetland restorations 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; and
• Opportunity to utilize innovative restoration methods and practices.
Click here to read more about WREP in the Federal Register