The WREP partnership encourages protection, restoration and enhancement of wetlands through voluntary enrollment by landowners with areas that fit the criteria. The program creates wildlife habitats, reduces the impacts of flooding, recharges groundwater, and creates excellent spaces for outdoor recreation and education.
"Through locally led partnerships like these, USDA is targeting conservation in the places that make sense, allowing us to address local concerns," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. "These projects will improve water quality, prevent flooding, enhance wildlife habitat and meet increasing conservation challenges on over 19,000 acres of wetlands."
The 2015-2016 projects are in Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska and Tennessee, with Kentucky and Tennessee receiving the bulk of the funding through awards of $9.4 million and $8.4 million, respectively.
All WREP partners match the funds they receive for financial or technical assistance, and to date the USDA has awarded more than $330 million to projects protecting and restoring agricultural lands, grasslands and wetlands.