WREP application approved
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota has become the second state in the nation to participate in USDA's Wetland Reserve Enhancement Program.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Agriculture Deputy Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment R. Mack Gray made the announcement at the Capitol Oct. 25.
"The pressure on Minnesota's water, wildlife and habitat requires our immediate action to defend this critical resource," Pawlenty said. "The fact that the federal government has approved our plan shows that once again, Minnesota is leading the nation in wetland and habitat restoration."
Under the three-year, $16.2 million WREP plan, the USDA will provide $2.8 million in 2004, and commits to a total of $15 million. The state will provide $1.2 million toward the effort, allocated over three years.
The state portion of funding will come from money previously appropriated by the Legislature to BWSR for the Reinvest in Minnesota Reserve program. Under the plan, Minnesota will also develop a long-range wetland restoration strategic plan in coordination with USDA.
The targeted restoration funds will focus on approximately 7,250 acres throughout Minnesota. The regions and acreage include:
3,000 acres in the five Presidentially Declared Flood Disaster Counties of Dodge, Faribault, Freeborn, Mower, and Steele counties in southern Minnesota.
1,750 acres along the Red River of the North.
1,500 acres in the Buffalo-Red River Watershed in northwestern Minnesota.
1,000 acres in the Grand Marais Creek Subwatershed in northwestern Minnesota.
In the disaster counties, the program will target sites within the watersheds to achieve strategic flood storage in conjunction with water quality and wildlife benefits.
WREP is administered through a partnership between NRCS and BWSR. The program provides a voluntary opportunity for landowners to receive both financial and technical assistance to restore wetlands and increase wildlife habitat.