Tribune staff reports
The Natural Resources Conservation Service Wetland Reserve Easement program provides eligible landowners the opportunity to restore, enhance and/or create wetlands.
This program focuses on areas where cropping is starting to become economically unfeasible due to current soil conditions, according to a news release from the service’s county office in Brownstown.
Eligible tracts of land are locations that are hard to get to during the spring or sites where the harvest can be challenging due to wetness. Most of these sites have soils that are hydric or are subject to flooding that make agricultural management unfeasible.
Dedicating the area for wildlife habitat purposes may be an alternative to economic losses from maintenance, site preparation, fuel and labor on sites that are only occasionally harvested.
The program will pay up to $3,500 per acre on agricultural land and up to $1,750 per acre on nonagricultural land. This compensation is paid for placing an easement on the property deed. In exchange, the landowner maintains ownership right to control access and the opportunity to profit from undeveloped recreational uses like hunting and fishing.
With increases of rainfall and population growth wetland areas are critical in controlling flooding and remove excess nutrients from the surface water. This program allows landowners to have a long-lasting impact on the health of their community while ensuring that future generations have access to high quality wild areas.
To learn about the program and other technical and financial assistance available, contact Shasta Woodard at the Brownstown Field Office at 812-358-2367, ext. 3.
For information about easements in Indiana, visit nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/in/programs/easements.