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USDA Announces $5 Million for Wetland Mitigation Banking Program
The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is making available up to $5 million for wetland mitigation banks.
This funding through the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program is to help conservation partners develop or establish mitigation banks to help agricultural producers maintain eligibility for USDA programs.
“Wetlands are critically important to the health of our natural resources – filtering water, reducing soil loss, and providing habitat to our nation’s wildlife while also helping to sequester carbon from the atmosphere,” said NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr. “Through the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program, we’re working with experienced wetland mitigation partners to give farmers another option to meet Farm Bill requirements.”
Wetland mitigation banking is the restoration, creation, or enhancement of wetlands to compensate for unavoidable impacts on wetlands at other locations. The Farm Bill’s wetland conservation provisions, commonly called Swampbuster provisions, aim to remove certain incentives to convert wetlands or to produce agricultural commodities on converted wetlands.
Producers seeking benefits through most USDA programs must comply with wetland conservation provisions by affirming they will not impact wetlands on their lands. 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.
This competitive grants program helps states, local governments, and other qualified partners develop wetland mitigation banks to restore, create, or enhance wetland ecosystems.
Applications must be submitted by July 6, 2020.