USDA is investing nearly $ 5 million in Wetland Mitigation Banking Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded nearly $ 5 million in grants to the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program (WMBP), a grant program that supports the development of risk banks for the restoration, creation, or improvement of wetlands to offset the unavoidable Effects on Wetlands in Another Location.

The award is on top of the more than $ 12.4 million that has been awarded to 13 partners in 11 states since 2016.

This year’s awards prioritized projects in states with large amounts of wetlands and a large number of producers with requests to identify wetlands.

“The Wetland Mitigation Banking Program helps restore and protect critical wetlands while expanding opportunities for farmers and ranchers,” said Terry Cosby, chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “Wetlands provide valuable ecosystem functions, including wildlife habitat and groundwater recharge. These projects enable us to work with states, local governments, and other qualified partners to restore, create, and improve wetland ecosystems. ”

The award-winning projects include:

  • $ 581,000 for Magnolia Land Partners, LLC of Illinois

  • $ 516,000 for Wisconsin DNR

  • $ 496,000 for Corblu Ecology Group, LLC in Georgia

  • $ 846,000 for Magnolia Land Partners, LLC of Nebraska

  • $ 992,000 for Minton Environmental Consultants, LLC of Nebraska

  • $ 575,000 for Wildlife Mississippi

  • $ 875,000 for North Dakota Agricultural Mitigation, Inc.

A drone image of CRP wetlands in Iowa

Photo credit: Betsy Freese

Via the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program

The WMBP helps agricultural producers comply with wetland protection regulations and conserve environmentally important wetlands by enabling off-site mitigation through the purchase of loans from wetland banks set up and operated by local partners.

The NRCS first awarded WMBP grants in 2016, and to date the program has established 21 wetland bank sites totaling 313 acres.

Several other locations have been secured and are in various stages of the restoration process. States with award-winning projects include Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and South Dakota.

Wetland Control Banks are helping producers across the country. In Georgia, NRCS has been partnering with Corblu Ecology Group, LLC, an environmental consultancy firm, since 2016 to develop multiple sites for mitigation banks to sell loans to producers across the country. In Ohio, NRCS funded the restoration and development of a 30-acre protective bank in Otter Creek Watershed that is creating habitats for wildlife and migratory birds.

Award winners can use WMBP funds to support mitigation bank site identification, development of an instrument for the mitigation bank, site restoration, land surveys, permits and title searches, and market research. WMBP funds cannot be used to purchase land or an easement.

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