California to pay $30.3 million to help restore wetlands

Sept. 27, 2002
A long backlog of farmers willing to voluntarily restore wetlands will be getting some good news.

DAVIS, Calif., Sept. 27, 2002 -- A long backlog of farmers willing to voluntarily restore wetlands will be getting some good news.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California has received $30.3 million for the federal Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) from the recently passed 2002 Farm Bill. Initial funding allocated $24.6 million for restoration projects, but was later increased to $30.3 million with the addition of supplemental funding.

The funds will permit the NRCS to restore 18 sites from marginal agricultural land to natural wetland and upland complexes. Given the new funds, California's list of restored wetlands will total over 75,000 acres.

The Wetlands Reserve Program began in 1992, but hit its Congressionally- sanctioned ceiling of 1,075,000 restored acres in 2001. Many states, including California, had long lists of farmers eager to participate in the program, which pays agricultural landowners for easement rights.

Additionally, NRCS provides technical and financial assistance for the ecological restoration needed to reestablish the wetland and associated upland habitat. The 2002 Farm Bill, signed by President Bush in May, gave permission and funding to restore another 250,000 acres annually for the next six years.

According to California NRCS State Conservationist Charles Bell, WRP projects are often in areas with marginal agricultural value, due to frequent flooding or poorly-drained soils. These same lands, when restored to wetland status, provide top-notch habitat for plants, migratory birds, and other wildlife, plus recreational opportunities such as hiking, hunting, boating, and bird watching.

The 18 sites selected this year are in 10 counties: Colusa, Fresno, Humbolt, Kern, Kings, Modoc, San Joaquin, Sutter, Tulare and Yolo. Among these are two projects in Kern County's historic Gooselake Bottoms, which will add to existing easements to total 4,275 acres.

Many NRCS partners have contributed efforts, including California Waterfowl Association, Ducks Unlimited, California Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and State Wildlife Conservation Board. Additionally, other public and private groups collaborate scientifically and financially to accomplish the restoration work.

To be considered for WRP, the land must have an agricultural history and have a high probability of successful restoration, including characteristics such as natural flooding and a potential for habitat diversity.

Future restoration projects statewide currently awaiting federal funds could potentially restore 35,000 acres from nearly 100 easement offerings.

Source: Natural Resources Conservation Service

Sponsored Recommendations

SmartSights WIN-911 Alarm Notification Software Enables Faster Response

March 15, 2024
Alarm notification software enables faster response for customers, keeping production on track

Automated Fresh Water Treatment

March 15, 2024
SCADA, Automation and Control for Efficient and Compliant Operations

Digital Transformation Enables Smart Water

March 15, 2024
During this webinar we will discuss factors driving the transformation to digital water, water industry trends, followed by a summary of solutions (products & services) available...

Automation for Water Treatment and Distribution Systems

Jan. 31, 2024
Dependable, Flexible Control Solutions to Maximize Productivity