ALBANY — Blake Glover, New York State Conservationist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announces the acceptance of applications 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.
“For over 25 years, NRCS has worked with landowners in New York to protect their wetlands and agricultural lands,” said Blake Glover, NRCS state conservationist in New York. “Conservation easements are important tools for people who are trying to improve soil health, water and air quality and wildlife habitat on their land.”
Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE)
Through ACEP -WRE, NRCS helps private landowners and American Indian tribes restore and protect wetland ecosystems. NRCS and the landowner work together to develop a plan for the restoration and maintenance of the easement.
“Seventy-five percent of the nation’s wetlands are situated on private and American Indian tribal lands,” Blake Glover said. “Wetlands provide many benefits, including critical habitat for a wide array of wildlife species. They also store floodwaters, clean and recharge groundwater, sequester carbon, trap sediment and filter pollutants for clean water.”
Wetland conservation easements are either permanent or for 30 years. American Indian tribes also have an option for a 30 year contract. Eligible lands include farmed or converted wetlands that can successfully be restored, croplands or grasslands subject to flooding, and riparian areas that link protected wetland areas. As part of the easement, NRCS and the landowner work together to develop a plan for the restoration and maintenance of the wetland.
The WRE application deadline is February 16, 2021.
Due to the protocol regarding COVID-19, it is not possible to visit your local NRCS Field Office for the required WRE application forms. They may be downloaded from the New York NRCS website, by using the following link: http://bit.ly/
You may contact your local field office by visiting the following link:
A map of New York will appear. Click on your county, followed by clicking on “Natural Resources Conservation Service”. This will provide the mailing address, office phone number and email address of the local NRCS District Conservationist. You may call or email the office with questions.
Your application will either need to be mailed to the local office, post marked by February 16, or scanned and emailed by February 16.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.
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 forestlands.
Partners include state or local agencies, non-profits and American Indian tribes. 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 its 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 February 26, 2021.
Applications received after the posted deadlines will be batched for funding consideration in FY 2022 which begins October 1. 2021. Both WRE and ALE have continuous sign up.
–USDA NRCS New York
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