USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Iowa is now accepting applications for its new Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP) to purchase conservation easements on eligible wetlands in Iowa.
“This is an exciting new opportunity for even more people to get involved in conserving natural resources,” said Iowa state conservationist Jay Mar. “We encourage Indian tribes, non-governmental organizations and private landowners to contact their local NRCS office to find out how to apply.”
The ACEP, created through the 2014 Farm Bill, funds both agricultural land and wetland easements. The ACEP combines NRCS’ former Farm and Ranch Lands Protection, Grassland Reserve and Wetlands Reserve programs.
This initial signup in Iowa only includes wetland reserve easement (ACEP-WRE) applications.
Wetland reserve easements restore and enhance wetlands and improve habitat. Eligible lands include farmed or converted wetlands that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored.
Accepted ACEP-WRE applications will be rated according to the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds, fish and other wildlife.
Applications must be submitted to Iowa NRCS by May 26. Applications are available at local USDA Service Centers and at www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted. Applications will be evaluated starting in late June.
Learn more about ACEP and other Farm Bill programs at www.nrcs.usda.gov/farmbill.