The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Ohio Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications from landowners interested in restoring, enhancing, and protecting wetlands with financial and technical assistance through the Wetlands Reserve Easement Program (WRE).

Applications for WRE are taken on a continuous basis. The deadline to apply for fiscal year 2023 funding is Feb. 17, 2023.

Wetland Reserve Easements can help landowners protect land from development, preserve critical wildlife habitat for outdoor recreation and improve water quality by filtering sediments and chemicals and reduce flooding.

“Wetlands are one of nature’s most productive ecosystems. The greatest potential for wetland restoration is working hand-in-hand with Ohio landowners,” said John Wilson, NRCS State Conservationist in Ohio. “Once the site is restored, landowners can enjoy the benefits that an easement brings – such as privacy, wildlife abundance for hunting and other recreation and a legacy to be passed down to future generations.”

Many of the state’s landowners can take advantage of this program, as eligible lands include farmed or converted wetlands that can successfully be restored; croplands or grasslands subject to flooding; and previously restored wetlands and riparian areas that connect protected wetland areas.

WRE enrollment options include permanent easements, 30-year easements and 30-year contracts. NRCS staff are available to help landowners plan and implement individual projects. The agency will pay a percent of the purchase value as well as restoration costs for each easement option. 

Find Ohio’s ranking dates as well as other program information on the Ohio NRCS WRE website, or contact Barbara Baker at [email protected] To learn more about other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS conservation programs, visit Get Started with NRCS or contact your local USDA Service Center.