Hoeven Announces $9 Million in Available Funding to Ease Wetland Compliance

Program Authorized by 2014 Farm Bill, Opens New Options for Conservation

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee and Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) is making $9 million available through the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program. The funding supports a market-based approach to help farmers comply with wetlands mitigation requirements.

Hoeven served on the House-Senate conference committee that negotiated the 2014 farm bill, which authorized the new program. The legislation included a Hoeven proposal to ensure that the conservation requirement was not retroactive, as well as report language encouraging the Secretary of Agriculture to use an acre-for-acre ration for wetland mitigation and funding to help farmers with mitigation. The senator continues working to help farmers and ranchers make the best use of farm bill tools by monitoring the implementation and administration of farm bill programs.

“Our farmers and ranchers have the biggest stake in protecting their land,” said Hoeven. “I fought against tying conservation compliance to crop insurance throughout the debate on the Senate farm bill and worked for the creation of this wetland mitigation bank program during the farm bill conference, of which I was a member. This program will lend a hand to farmers who are now subject to conservation compliance. ”

Grants through this program will cover the administration and technical costs associated with the development of a wetland mitigation bank or banking program. Eligible applicants include states, local governments, federally-recognized tribes and qualified nongovernmental entities, both for-profit and non-profit. NRCS is prioritizing funding to locations that have a significant known wetland compliance workload, including the Prairie Pothole Region.

USDA is now accepting project proposals for this program. Proposals are due to NRCS before 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on March 28, 2016. The announcement and associated forms for this funding opportunity can be found here and here.