ALBANY — Blake Glover, New York State Conservationist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is announcing the first application submittal period, from interested landowners and entities, for the Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) and the Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) components of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).
The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) focuses on restoring and protecting wetlands through WRE as well as conserving productive agricultural lands and grasslands through ALE. Landowners are compensated for enrolling their land in either of these two easement options.
“Conservation easements are an important tool in conservation for the state of the New York. Easements help eligible landowners and partners voluntarily provide long-term protection of our nation’s farmland, ranch land, wetlands and grasslands for future generations,” Blake Glover, State Conservationist for New York, said. “New York NRCS has been at the forefront of Conservation Easements in the state and across the nation. One of our top priorities is to help farmers, ranchers, private forest landowners and partners achieve their conservation goals using our technical expertise, sound conservation planning, and Farm Bill funding.”
Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE)
Through ACEP-WRE, NRCS helps private landowners and Tribal Nations restore and protect wetland ecosystems. Wetlands provide many benefits, including critical habitat for a wide array of wildlife species. Wetlands also store floodwaters, clean and recharge groundwater, sequester carbon, trap sediment, and filter pollutants, improving water quality.
Wetland conservation easements are either permanent or 30 years in duration. Tribal Nations also have an option for a 30-year contract rather than an easement. Eligible lands include farmed, converted or degraded wetlands that can successfully be restored, croplands or grasslands subject to flooding, and riparian areas that link protected wetland areas. NRCS and the participant work together to develop a plan for the restoration and maintenance of the wetland.
The WRE application deadline is November 15, 2021.
Applications can be obtained from your local NRCS field office or be downloaded from the New York NRCS website, by using the following link: https://bit.ly/NewYorkACEP
Agricultural Land Easements (ALE)
Through ACEP – ALE, NRCS provides funds to eligible conservation partners to purchase conservation easements on private working lands. This program helps keep working lands working, especially in areas experiencing development pressure. ALE Easements are permanent. Eligible lands include privately owned cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and forestland.
Partners include state or local agencies, non-profits and Tribal Nations. Landowners continue to own their property but voluntarily enter into a legal agreement with a cooperating entity to purchase an easement. The cooperating entity applies for matching funds from NRCS for the purchase of an easement from the landowner, permanently protecting agricultural use and conservation values. Landowners do not apply directly to NRCS for funding under this program, but rather through an eligible partner.
The ALE application deadline is November 15, 2021.
ACEP – ALE Application materials may be found here: https://bit.ly/NewYorkACEP
To find your local service center go here: https://bit.ly/NRCSField
Applicants may apply at any time, however applications received after the posted deadlines will be considered for funding during future application periods.
–USDA NRCS New York
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