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Council on Environmental Quality
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Conserving America’s Wetlands 2008:
Four Years of Partnering Resulted in
Accomplishing the President's Goal

Appendix C.
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Table C-1. USDA Programs Supporting the President's Wetlands Goal in FY 2009. Funding (millions of dollars)


Program Restore or Create Improve Protect Total Wetlands Funding for Goal FY 2009 Difference from FY 2008
Conservation Reserve Program 13.900 5.200 0.000 19.100 3.100
Conservation Technical Assistance Program 10.870 16.083 0.000 26.953 0.000
NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program 0.160 0.030 0.000 0.190 0.000
Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program 0.000 0.000 7.000 7.000 0.000
Grasslands Reserve Program 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 -0.461
Wetlands Reserve Program 45.905 3.707 131.388 181.000 -274.000
Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program 0.700 0.140 0.000 0.840 0.000
Total   71.535 25.160 138.388 235.083 -271.361

USDA Programs Supporting the President’s Wetlands Goal

Farm Service Agency (FSA)
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP):This program establishes permanent vegetative cover on environmentally sensitive lands (including cropped and prior converted wetlands) through long-term rental agreements. Currently, 2.4 million wetland acres, including upland buffers, have been restored and are being maintained under 10- and 15-year contracts with annual rental payments of $126 million. The 2002 Farm Bill authorized that, at any one time, up to 39.2 million acres may be enrolled in CRP during 2002 through 2007, an increase from 36.4 million acres authorized to be enrolled through 2002.

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) Program:In FY 2007, CTA helped landowners protect water quality on 6,374,280 acres; improve fish and wildlife habitat quality on 2,781,782 acres; and create, restore, or enhance 58,595 acres of wetlands.

Table C-2. USDA Programs Supporting the President's Wetlands Goal in FY 2009.
Planned Accomplishments (in acres)


Program Restore or Create Improve Protect Total Wetlands FY 2008 Difference from FY 2007
Conservation Reserve Program 25,800 1,900 0 27,700 8,500
Conservation Technical Assistance Program 17,442 33,858 0 51,300 0
NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program 500 250 0 750 0
Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program 0 0 5,000 5,000 0
Grasslands Reserve Program 0 0 0 0 0
Wetlands Reserve Program 84,175 6,825 122,126 213,126 27,637
Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program 8,050 352 0 8,402 0
Total   135,967 43,185 127,126 306,278 35,377

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP): As a voluntary conservation program, EQIP promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible national goals. Through EQIP, farmers and ranchers may receive financial and technical help to install and maintain conservation practices that enhance soil, water, and related natural resources, including wetlands. The program has restored 33,808 acres of wetlands, and an additional 147,302 acres have been enhanced or improved since the program was established in 1996. The 2002 Farm Bill authorized $400 million for FY 2002, $700 million for FY 2003, $1 billion for FY 2004, $1.2 billion for both FY 2005 and FY 2006, and $1.3 billion for FY 2007 and FY 2008.

Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program:This program provides matching funds to help purchase development rights to keep productive farm and ranchland in agricultural uses for protecting topsoil by limiting conversion to nonagricultural uses of land.

Grasslands Reserve Program: This voluntary program offers landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance grasslands on their property. The program will conserve vulnerable grasslands from conversion to cropland or other uses and conserve valuable grasslands by helping maintain viable ranching operations. The program is jointly administered by NRCS and FSA (NRCS has lead responsibility on technical issues and easement administration, and FSA has lead responsibility for rental agreement administration and financial activities). In FY 2007, program staff processed 239 new applications totaling 135,996 acres valued at approximately $12,893,272. Of these totals, farmers and ranchers preserved 13,000 acres of wetlands using common management practices to maintain the viability of the conserved grassland.

Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP): WRP is a voluntary program that assists landowners with restoring and protecting wetlands through conservation easements and cost-share agreements. Since 1992,1,921,144 wetland and associated upland acres have been enrolled in the program. The 2002 Farm Bill requires, to the maximum extent practicable, an additional 250,000 acres to be enrolled in the program each year, for a total program enrollment of 2,275,000 acres by the end of 2007. Total program enrollment at the end of FY 2007 exceeded 1.92 million wetland acres and associated upland acres.

Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP): WHIP is a voluntary program that provides technical and financial assistance to enable eligible participants to develop upland wildlife, wetland wildlife, threatened and endangered species, fish, and other types of wildlife habitat in an environmentally beneficial and cost-effective manner. The purpose of the program is to create high-quality wildlife habitats that support wildlife populations of local, state, and national significance. In FY 2006 through 2008, approximately 15,000 acres of wetlands will have been protected, restored, developed, or enhanced under WHIP.

USDA Programs that Maintain the Wetlands Base

NRCS programs help private landowners apply needed conservation techniques on their land. When private landowners use these programs to restore, protect, and improve wetlands on their property, they serve as stewards of our environment. Other cooperative conservation efforts include:

Plant Materials Program: This program focuses on development of plants and technology to help conserve natural resources, including improving the function of wetlands. There are currently 27 plant materials centers (PMC) located across the country. Each PMC develops vegetative solutions to natural resource challenges within its service area. In the wetlands arena, PMCs have selected over 56 improved plants for restoration work, wetland enhancement, and nutrient filtering in constructed wetlands. Forty of these improved plants are useful for revegetation within the Wetlands Reserve Program. The PMCs also develop the technology to successfully propagate, establish, and manage plant materials in wetland settings.

In FY 2008, PMCs are working on 50 studies directly associated with furthering the technology of vegetation in wetlands, as well as an additional 100 studies that will indirectly benefit wetlands. These benefits include technology to protect and restore coastal marshes, improve the establishment of submerged aquatic vegetation, restore or enhance wetlands, protect the shorelines and buffer zones of wetlands, and enhance wetlands for wildlife uses and to support the Wetlands Reserve Program. FY 2009 funding request is $10.9 million.

National Resources Inventory: NRCS conducts the National Resources Inventory (NRI) in cooperation with Iowa State University’s Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology. The NRI is a scientifically based longitudinal (statistical) survey of the nation’s natural resources that provides information on status and trends of land use and soil, water, and related resources for the nation’s non-federal land. The NRI is unique in that it provides nationally consistent statistical data that are explicitly linked to the NRCS Soil Interpretations database and that support analysis of resource trends on rural and developed land over all regions of the United States since 1982. The NRI shows that between 1997 and 2003 there was an estimated net gain of 263,000 acres of wetlands due to agricultural activities—an average annual increase of 44,000 acres.

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