Sources of Conservation Funding


Program Goal:

The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) is a voluntary federal program that provides technical and financial assistance to help landowners restore, protect and enhance wetlands, including adjacent areas important to their function, through easements and restoration cost-share.

Program Description:

There are four types of WRP enrollment options:

  1. Permanent Easement: A conservation easement in perpetuity held by NRCS. Cost share is available to carry out restoration plans.
  2. 30-Year Easement - An easement held by NRCS that expires after 30-years and includes cost-share to offset a portion of the restoration costs.
  3. Restoration Cost-Share Agreement - A 10-year agreement to restore or enhance wetlands without placing an easement on the enrolled acres. NRCS pays a portion of the restoration costs plus maintenance.
  4. Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program - Leverages non-Farm Bill dollars and is subject to criteria in specific geographic regions

Landowner Eligibility:

Participants must own the land for at least the 7 years prior to enrollment for the easement options. However, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) may make an exception if the land was not acquired for the purpose of putting it into WRP or if it is of significant environmental value. Eligibility is based on the amount of income derived from different sources. Applicants, including land trusts, cannot receive benefit from USDA conservation programs if their annual adjusted gross income for non-farm income exceeds $1,000,000 ($2,000,000 for a married couple) unless at least two-thirds of their total adjusted gross income is derived from farming, ranching, and forestry operations.

Land Eligibility:

Lands that can be restored to wetlands -- cropland, pastureland and hayland.

Lands enrolled in CRP that are highly likely to be returned to production at the end of the CRP contract are eligible for this program. CRP lands that have timber stands or that were converted to trees are not eligible for this program.

Cost-Share Information:

As described above, WRP offers four different enrollment options for private landowners: Permanent easement, 30-year easement, restoration cost-share agreement, and wetlands reserve enhancement program.

For information regarding easements, please see the Payments section below.

Restoration cost-share information: The total amount of annual payments a landowner or legal entity receives for restoration cost-share agreements cannot exceed $50,000 per year - per participant, not per project. If you have multiple projects or properties enrolled in WRP, you will receive no more than $50,000 for all projects combined in a single year. Participants can use other non-USDA conservation program funds, including state and federal, to match WRP cost-share. Funded activities must comply with WRP contract and, together with USDA funds, cannot exceed 100 percent of the total actual cost of restoration. If they do, NRCS will reduce payments proportionately.

Payment Information:

The appropriate payment method depends on which of the four enrollment options you select.

  • Easement Payment Distributions - If the permanent or 30-year easement is valued at $500,000 or less, payment is distributed in one lump sum or in up to 30 annual payments per the request of the participant. Easements valued at greater than $500,000 must have at least five and no more than 30 annual payments.
  • Restoration Cost-Share Limits - The total amount of annual payments a landowner or legal entity receives for restoration cost-share agreements can not exceed $50,000 per year per participant, not per project. Easement compensation - NRCS bases compensation for permanent and 30-year easements on whichever of the following is the lowest: (1) fair market value of the land according to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practices or an area-wise market analysis; (2) applicable geographic area rate cap, or (3) landowner's offer.

Signup Information

Enrollment in Wetland Restoration Program is competitive and applications are accepted on a continuous basis.

Ranking and project selection period occur one or more times per year and are announced on the state Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Service Center or on the NRCS state website. States can place higher priority on certain geographic regions of the state where restoration will help achieve state or regional goals.

NRCS must give priority to acquiring permanent rather than short-term easements and easements with habitat value for migratory birds and other wildlife. Higher priority may also be given to offers that:

  1. provide higher conservation value,
  2. are most cost-effective for the environmental benefits gained,
  3. leverage federal funds with additional financial contributions from the landowner or other third party,
  4. best achieve the purpose of the program,
  5. have lower on-farm and off-farm threats such as development of nearby land; and
  6. voluntarily accept a lesser payment than NRCS offers.

Additional Resources

Visit the Virginia NRCS website

Click here to read about the benefits of wetlands and the importance of protecting them.

 

 
 
 

Program Administrators:

This program is administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Contact info for NRCS staff in our region:

Albemarle County:

Dana Bayless
Louisa Service Center, District Conservationist
39 Industrial Drive, Suite 1
Lousia, VA 23093
phone: (540) 967-0233 ext 107
fax: (540) 967-2557
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Clarke County:

Mike Liskey, District Conservationist
Strasburg Service Center
722 East Queen Street
Strasburg, VA 22657
phone:(540) 465-2424
fax:(540) 465-8366
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Culpeper County:

Rex Rexrode, District Conservationist
Culpeper Service Center
351 Lakeside Drive
Culpeper, VA 22701
phone: (540) 825-4200 ext 108
fax:(540) 825-1655
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Fauquier County:

Roger Flint, District Conservationist
Warrenton Service Center
98 Alexandria Pike, Suite 12
Warrenton, VA 20186
phone: (540) 347-3120
fax: (540) 349-0878
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Greene County:

Rex Rexrode, District Conservationist
Culpeper Service Center
351 Lakeside Drive
Culpeper, VA 22701
phone: (540) 825-4200 ext 108
fax:(540) 825-1655
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Loudoun County:

Larry Wilkinson, District Conservationist
Leesburg Service District
30 Catoctin Circle SE, Suite H
Leesburg, VA 20175
phone: (703) 777-2075 ext 102
fax: (703) 443-0187
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Madison County:

Rex Rexrode, District Conservationist
Culpeper Service Center
351 Lakeside Drive
Culpeper, VA 22701
phone: (540) 825-4200 ext 108
fax:(540) 825-1655
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Orange County:

Rex Rexrode, District Conservationist
Culpeper Service Center
351 Lakeside Drive
Culpeper, VA 22701
phone: (540) 825-4200 ext 108
fax:(540) 825-1655
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Rappahannock County:

Rex Rexrode, District Conservationist
Culpeper Service Center
351 Lakeside Drive
Culpeper, VA 22701
phone: (540) 825-4200 ext 108
fax:(540) 825-1655
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Additional Resources

Visit the Virginia NRCS website

Program Administrators:

This program is administered by the Department of Conservation and Recreation's Soil and Water Conservation Districts. The contact info for representatives serving Piedmont Environmental Council counties are as follows:

Albemarle County:

Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District
Emily Nelson, Conservation Specialist
706 Forest St, Ste. G
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Phone: 434-975-0224
Fax: 434-975-1367
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Clarke County:

Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District
Pete Benedetto, Senior Conservation Specialist
Phone: 540-465-2424 ext. 111
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Culpeper County:

Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District
David Massie, Conservation Specialist
351 Lakeside Drive Culpeper, VA
Phone: 540-825-8591
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Fauquier County:

John Marshall Soil and Water Conservation District
Thomas Turner, Conservation Manager
98 Alexandria Pike- Suite 31,
Warrenton, VA 20186
Phone: 540-347-3120 x 3
Fax: 540-349-0878
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Greene County:

Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District
David Massie, Conservation Specialist
351 Lakeside Drive Culpeper, VA
Phone: 540-825-8591
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Loudoun County:

Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation District
Jay Frankenfield, Conservation Specialist
30 Catoctin Circle,
SE Leesburg, VA
Phone: 571-918-4530
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Madison County:

Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District
David Massie, Conservation Specialist
351 Lakeside Drive Culpeper, VA
Phone: 540-825-8591
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Orange County:

Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District
David Massie, Conservation Specialist
351 Lakeside Drive Culpeper, VA
Phone: 540-825-8591
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Rappahannock County:

Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District
David Massie, Conservation Specialist
351 Lakeside Drive Culpeper, VA
Phone: 540-825-8591
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Additional Resources

Find out more about Virginia's Soil and Water Conservation Districts

Virginia farmers, such as the one profiled here, have already benefited from instituting alternative watering techniques.

 

Search for more sources of funding

The Piedmont Environmental Council has provided this program summary for informational purposes only, accuracy is not guaranteed. Please consult the program's representative or administrator for full project details and requirements and to inquire about the availability of funding.

The Piedmont Environmental Council has provided this program summary for informational purposes only, accuracy is not guaranteed. Please consult the program's representative or administrator for full project details and requirements and to inquire about the availability of funding.

Conservation Questions?

Our Land Conservation Staff work throughout the Piedmont.

Find the PEC staff person nearest you.

For general questions, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Free Easement Packet

Important information about conservation easements -- including a sample PEC Easement and guidelines on how to proceed with donating a easement.

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