USDA announces $5 million in wetland mitigation banking program funds

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service recently announced the availability of up to $5 million for wetland mitigation banks.

This funding through the wetland mitigation banking program is available to help conservation partners develop or establish mitigation banks to help agricultural producers maintain eligibility for USDA programs.

The banking program is the restoration, creation or enhancement of wetlands to compensate for unavoidable impacts on wetlands at other locations.

Producers can buy credits from mitigation banks to compensate for the impact of lost wetlands. When a bank is established, the landowner retains ownership and use of the property, while a conservation easement protects the wetlands from incompatible degrading activities.

Producers seeking benefits through most USDA programs must comply with wetland conservation provisions by affirming they will not impact wetlands on their lands. In situations where avoidance or on-site mitigation is challenging, the Farm Bill allows for off-site mitigation through the purchase of mitigation banking credits.

This program is designed to help states, local governments and other qualified partners develop banks to restore, create or enhance wetland ecosystems. 

Applications must be submitted through by 11:59 p.m. July 6.

NRCS is accepting proposals from state and local units of government, for-profit entities and nongovernmental organizations.