The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to invest up to $5 million in the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program, a grant program that supports the development of mitigation banks for use by agricultural producers seeking to maintain eligibility for USDA programs. Funds are available to tribes, state and local government entities, nonprofits and other organizations.
To participate in most USDA programs, agricultural producers agree to comply with the wetland conservation provisions. 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. Since 2016, the National Resources Conservation Service has awarded 25 projects in 13 states. The 2018 Farm Bill provided funding for this program through fiscal year 2023. NRCS is prioritizing funds in states with large amounts of wetlands as well as a lot of producers with wetland determination requests, including Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Awardees may use WMBP funding to support mitigation bank site identification, development of a mitigation banking instrument, site restoration, land surveys, permitting and title searches, and market research. WMBP funding cannot be used to purchase land or a conservation easement.
NRCS is accepting proposals until Oct. 10.