LINCOLN, Neb. — The USDA is investing up to $5 million in the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program, a grant program that supports the development of mitigation banks for use by agricultural producers seeking to maintain eligibility for USDA programs. Funds are available to Tribes, government entities, nonprofits, and other organizations.

NRCS is accepting proposals through Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. ET on Aug. 16, 2021.

“Our goal is to make sure agricultural producers have the tools they need to successfully farm or ranch and conserve natural resources,” said Britt Weiser, acting state conservationist in Nebraska. “Wetland mitigation banks enable the restoration or creation of wetlands for the purpose of compensating for unavoidable impacts to wetlands at another location. The Wetland Mitigation Banking Program helps states, local governments, and other qualified partners restore, create, and enhance wetland ecosystems.”

To participate in most USDA programs, agricultural producers agree to comply with the wetland conservation provisions, which means producers will not farm converted wetlands or convert wetlands to enable agricultural production. In situations where avoidance or on-site mitigation is challenging, the Farm Bill allows for off-site mitigation through the purchase of mitigation banking credits.

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ABOUT THE WETLAND MITIGATION BANKING PROGRAM

NRCS awarded the first Wetland Mitigation Bank Program grants in 2016 and so far, has supported the creation or expansion of wetland mitigation banks in 11 states. So far, 21 wetland bank sites have been established through the program, totaling 313 acres. Several more sites have been secured and are in various stages of the restoration process. The 2018 Farm Bill provided an opportunity for funding for this program through fiscal 2023.

NRCS is prioritizing funds in states with large amounts of wetlands as well as large amounts of producers with wetland determination requests. This includes Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Awardees may use Wetland Mitigation Bank Program funding to support mitigation bank site identification, development of a mitigation banking instrument, site restoration, land surveys, permitting and title searches, and market research. Wetland Mitigation Bank Program funding cannot be used to purchase land or a conservation easement.

NRCS is accepting proposals through Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. ET on Aug. 16, 2021.

To learn more, visit the Wetland Mitigation Bank Program webpage: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/programs/farmbill/?cid=nrcseprd362686

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