Release No. 0163.05
Ed Loyd (202) 720-4623
Mary Cressel (202) 690-0547
USDA PROVIDES $4 MILLION AND REQUESTS PROPOSALS FOR WETLANDS RESERVE
WASHINGTON, May 16, 2005-Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today
announced that $4 million is available in financial assistance for
Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP) partnership proposals that
restore and protect habitat for migratory birds and other wetland
"These public-private partnerships are a prime example of cooperative
conservation," said Johanns. "These partnership projects can help
at-risk species and go a long way toward helping us meet the President's
goal to improve, restore and protect three million acres of wetlands."
The Natural Resources Conservation Service issued today a request for
proposals (RFP) that is available on the agency's website and the
Federal eGrants website at http://www.grants.gov. Applicants will have
45 days to submit proposals. Funds will be awarded through a nationwide
competition that also includes the Pacific Basin and Caribbean Area.
Of the $4 million available for WREP, a minimum of $500,000 will be
available for partnership proposals that address bog turtle habitat in
the east and $500,000 for Ivory-billed woodpecker habitat in Arkansas.
These funds are a portion of the $1.5 million in Wetlands Reserve
Program (WRP) funds and $1 million in Wildlife Habitat Incentives
Program funds announced last month as part of USDA's contribution to
help save the rare Ivory-billed woodpecker.
The bog turtle is a threatened species, scattered from New York and
Massachusetts south to southern Tennessee and Georgia. Population
declines are due mainly to loss of habitat, which is wet meadows and
other shallow, sunny wetlands, and encroachment of vegetation. WREP
projects have the potential to help this species survive. Bog turtle
proposals will compete only with other bog turtle proposals.
The recently rediscovered Ivory-billed woodpecker, which was thought to
be extinct, is the largest woodpecker in the United States. Found in
Arkansas, conservation projects and practices to improve and restore the
bird's native habitat are necessary for its survival. Local WREP
projects that could potentially benefit the Ivory-billed woodpecker are
being requested. These projects will only compete against other projects
determined to have potential benefits to the rare bird.
For fiscal year 2005, NRCS will focus on WREP proposals that address
wetland creation and enhancement efforts on prior-year enrolled
contracts, those where partners will contribute significantly to WRP
delivery and technical assistance costs, and easement management
projects. NRCS estimates these funds, along with contributions from
partners, may result in wetland restoration, creation, enhancement and
easement management on approximately 5,000 acres.
WREP is available to individuals, nongovernmental organizations and
state, tribal and local governmental agencies. Proposals must include
nonfederal funding for at least 50 percent of the project's technical
assistance cost. Technical assistance contributions may be in the form
of in-kind contributions. NRCS will accept proposals for single or
mulit-year projects, not to exceed three years.
The WREP RFP that includes an overview of the program, proposal
requirements, evaluation criteria and application information is
available at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/wrp .
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