Conservation groups in Nebraska can apply for USDA funding to help protect and restore wetlands in the state. It is part of $15 million available through the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership.
Tim Weltmer is the Nebraska Easement Program Manager for the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. He says Nebraska about $1.7 million the last time the program was offered.
“Nebraska has received this two times in the past,” Weltmer tells Nebraska Radio Network. “We have typically received more private landowner applications than we can fund.”
Weltmer says the conservation organizations match a portion of the federal funding and enroll landowners in the program.
“This is an avenue we can provide protection to wetlands and provide an avenue for the farmer who paid for that, so he can get some revenue off of it, instead of continually trying to fight the hydric soil,” Weltmer says.
He knows there are some landowners who have pieces of ground that get saturated and are only productive once or twice in seven years.
“They’re just kind of tired of getting their pivot stuck and tired of getting their tractor stuck,” Weltmer says.
The Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership program is run through conservation groups in each state, which apply for the federal funding, match a portion of it, and distribute it to qualified landowners, likely later this year.