USDA Funding Available to Help Colorado Landowners Protect Wetlands and Wildlife Habitat thru ACEP-WRE Program

Applications Accepted: 1) February 12, 2021 and 2) April 9, 2021

Denver, CO – Colorado Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist, Clint Evans announced the 2021 opportunities for enrollment into the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Wetlands Reserve Easement Program (ACEP-WRE). 

To compete for available funding in signup 1, landowners must submit a complete application to their local NRCS field office by 4:00pm, Friday, February 12, 2021 (MST) and by 4:00pm, Friday, April 9, 2021, for funding consideration in Signup 2.

ACEP-WRE provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve wetlands and their related benefits. ACEP-WRE easements provide habitat for fish and wildlife, including threatened and endangered species. Additionally, they can have a wide range of other benefits, including filtering sediments and chemicals to improve water quality, reducing impacts of flooding, recharging groundwater, protecting biological diversity, and providing opportunities for educational, scientific and limited recreational activities.

ACEP-WRE enrollment options include permanent easements, 30-year easements, term easements, and 30-year contracts. NRCS pays a specific percentage of the fair market value of the easement and restoration costs for each easement option. Upon selection of an application for funding, NRCS will make an offer for the easement. Landowners should carefully review a copy of the Warranty Easement Deed or other contractual documents associated with the selected enrollment type and be aware and accepting of the retained rights and restrictions that will be placed on the land.

To be eligible for funding, all landowners of record and the land being offered for enrollment must meet all applicable eligibility criteria through a planning and evaluation process specific to ACEP-WRE. Landowners should be prepared to work closely with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and NRCS during this process to fully evaluate the application for eligibility.

Land eligible for ACEP-WRE includes farmed or converted wetlands, riparian areas, and other wetland types that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored. NRCS will prioritize applications based the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.

For more information, copies of the application forms, and supporting documents, please visit our ACEP webpage. You may also contact your local NRCS field office or Heather Foley, Easements Program Manager, at (720) 544-2805 or Fully completed landowner application packets must be received by the local NRCS Field Office by no later than 4:00 PM MST on an advertised signup date to be considered.

Applications postmarked or time stamped after these deadlines WILL NOT be accepted.

Only fully completed and properly executed applications that are submitted by the signup dates on the appropriate forms and accompanied by all required supporting documentation will be considered for funding in FY-2021. All qualified applications will be reviewed, ranked, and considered for funding according to the interim ACEP rule, policy, and guidance. Issuance of the final ACEP rule may affect application requirements and eligibility considerations. If this is the case, NRCS will work with landowners to update applications accordingly and re-evaluate eligibility in accordance with the changes. Complete applications received after the cutoff date may be considered in the next application period. Incomplete applications WILL NOT be considered.

NRCS Colorado Press Release

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.

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