USDA establishes Wetland Mitigation Banking Program
The program, made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, allows wetland development in one area to compensate for impacts to wetlands in other areas. Primarily used by entities like local governments to offset the effects of development, mitigation banks can also be used by farmers and ranchers who are impacting wetlands, allowing them to remain eligible for other USDA programs.
"Over the past seven years, USDA has worked with private landowners to enroll a record number of acres in conservation practices, and we are seeing significant reductions in nutrient runoff and greenhouse gas emissions,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “Wetland Mitigation Banks will give farmers and ranchers more conservation options so they can find the best solution for their land and circumstances, and produce even more results.”
The NRCS is currently accepting applications from third-parties, including Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations, wishing to develop mitigation banks under the service’s guidance. Those selected to develop the banks will receive an award of up to $1 million and will be able to market mitigation credits to farmers and ranchers. The deadline for proposals is March 28.