WASHINGTON — USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is announcing two application deadlines for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) and Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) for fiscal year 2023 funding for New York State. November 25 is the first application deadline. Applications received after November 25 will be batched for the second deadline, February 10, 2023.
“Conservation easements help eligible landowners and partners voluntarily provide long-term protection of our farmland, ranch land, wetlands and grasslands for future generations,” Blake Glover, State Conservationist for New York, said. “One of our top priorities is to help our customers achieve their conservation goals using our technical expertise, sound conservation planning, and Farm Bill funding.”
Agricultural Land Easements
ACEP-ALE easements protect critical natural resources and encourage private landowners to protect farmland through the voluntary sale of a conservation easement, which limits future development. Eligible lands include privately owned cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and forestlands.
Private landowners interested in applying for ALE must work with an eligible partner who will submit an application packet to NRCS. Eligible partners include state or local agencies, non-profits and Native American Tribes that have farmland or grassland protection programs. Each application pool will be ranked and considered for funding separately. The highest ranked applications in each pool will be selected based on the availability.
Wetland Reserve Easements
WRE 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. 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.
Applicants may apply at any time, however applications received after the posted deadlines will be considered for funding during future application periods. For more information, Contact Peter Gibbs at firstname.lastname@example.org at 315-221-5883, visit our ACEP page, or contact your local service center.
–USDA NRCS New York