USDA Wetlands Restoration Program

This 2009 announced the USDA’s Wetlands Restoration Program, which helps private landowners restore, protect, create or enhance existing wetlands on their property.

Federal environmental officials were looking for private landowners in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes of Louisiana who were interested in hosting a wetland restoration project on their private property.

At the time of the article’s publication, despite local wetland loss problems, for “one reason or another” there had been no participation in the program by local farmers and landowners. But officials were hoping to change that.

We’re particularly interested in looking for people who’ve seen their property affected by saltwater intrusion, and maybe crops aren’t as productive as they used to be,” said David Williams, program specialist for the Wetlands Reserve Program.

The program targets lands that may have been wetlands in the past, but were converted to farmland or pastureland. As a result, these lands might be difficult to maintain and flood often, Williams said.

As opposed to coastal restoration, typically we’re looking at prior converted wetlands, or degraded wetlands that’ve had the (water flow) blocked due to human activities,” Williams said. The goal is to restore natural water flow and marsh grasses and improve the wetlands’ health.

USDA was paying up to 75 percent of the restoration costs. The owner can contract out the restoration project themselves or get help from the USDA.

Have any readers had experience with this program over the ensuing 6 years? Please comment below.

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