Apr. 25, 2011 -- The USDA is making up to $10 million available to help eligible landowners in three states reduce flooding, restore wetlands and enhance wildlife habitat in the Red River Valley Watershed through the agency's Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP).
Funding for this special WRP initiative will be available in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota and is expected to allow the three states to accept new applications and fund more WRP easements. Restoring wetlands and associated uplands through this initiative will help retain and slow floodwaters in the Red River Valley Watershed, while providing valuable wildlife habitat and reducing damages from severe flooding. The Red River Valley Watershed experiences moderate to severe flooding annually, with record flooding every few years.
WRP, administered by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, is the federal government's largest private lands wetlands restoration program. It provides voluntary technical and financial assistance to private landowners and Indian tribes to restore, protect and enhance wetlands that have been degraded or converted to agricultural uses. More than 80 percent of the restorable wetlands in the Red River Valley are privately owned.