WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded nearly $5 million in grant funding for the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program (WMBP), a grant program that supports the development of mitigation banks for the restoration, creation or enhancement of wetlands to compensate for unavoidable impacts to wetlands at another location.
The awarded funding adds to the more than $12.4 million that has been provided to 13 partners in 11 states since 2016. This year’s awards prioritized projects in states with large amounts of wetlands as well as large numbers of producers with wetland determination requests.
“The Wetland Mitigation Banking Program supports critical wetland restoration and protection while also expanding options for farmers and ranchers,” said Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Terry Cosby. “Wetlands provide valuable ecosystem functions, including wildlife habitat and groundwater recharge. These projects allow us to collaborate with states, local governments and other qualified partners to restore, create and enhance wetland ecosystems.”
Awarded projects include:
- $581,000 for Magnolia Land Partners, LLC in Illinois
- $516,000 for Wisconsin DNR
- $496,000 for Corblu Ecology Group, LLC in Georgia
- $846,000 for Magnolia Land Partners, LLC in Nebraska
- $992,000 for Minton Environmental Consultants, LLC in Missouri
- $575,000 for Wildlife Mississippi
- $875,000 for North Dakota Agricultural Mitigation, Inc.
About the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program
The WMBP helps agricultural producers comply with wetland conservation provisions and conserve ecologically important wetlands by allowing for off-site mitigation through the purchase of credits from wetland banks established and run by local partners.
NRCS awarded the first WMBP grants in 2016 and so far, 21 wetland bank sites have been established through the program, totaling 313 acres. Several more sites have been secured and are in various stages of the restoration process. States with awarded projects include Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and South Dakota.
Wetland mitigation banks are helping producers across the country. In Georgia, NRCS has partnered since 2016 with Corblu Ecology Group, LLC, an environmental consulting firm, to develop multiple mitigation bank sites to sell credits to producers statewide. In Ohio, NRCS funded the restoration and development of a thirty-acre mitigation bank in the Otter Creek Watershed, creating habitats for wildlife and migratory birds.
Awardees may use WMBP funding to support mitigation bank site identification, development of a mitigation banking instrument, site restoration, land surveys, permitting and title searches and market research. WMBP funding cannot be used to purchase land or a conservation easement.
More information about the WMBP program is available on the WMBP webpage.
— USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service