USDA pushing for full Wetlands Reserve Program enrollment

Ducks Unlimited supports efforts to boost conservation

WASHINGTON – Oct. 26, 2009 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture aims to have the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) enrolled to its fully authorized acreage by 2012, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Ducks Unlimited has a history of working with landowners to put WRP projects on their land, including more than 250,000 acres in the lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley, and looks forward to working with the USDA and landowners to reach this goal.

"This could be great news for farmers and duck hunters," said Dan Wrinn, director of public policy for Ducks Unlimited. "Ducks Unlimited partnering with farmers and the USDA to put more habitat on the ground, while providing benefits to landowners, is always a win-win situation."

Current enrollment in the program stands at approximately 2.2 million acres – reaching the final goal will mean having more than 3 million acres enrolled.

"The Wetlands Reserve Program has been and will continue to be one of our largest and most popular programs," said Dave White, NRCS chief. "The WRP has helped landowners restore and enhance of over 2 million acres of wetlands – with tremendous benefits for migratory wildlife. While we've been successful, we've even more opportunities in the future. The 2008 Farm Bill added another 1 million acre to the WRP, and over the next three years we will be taking aggressive actions to meet this goal. To do so, we will be working closely with Ducks Unlimited and other wildlife conservation partners to get even more habitat and wildlife on the land."

"WRP lands provide excellent wintering habitat for migrating waterfowl and help provide certainty for farmers in the face of an unsure economy," said Wrinn.

WRP is a popular program with farmers looking to voluntarily conserve their marginal cropland. Technical and financial assistance are available to convert marginal or unproductive croplands to waterfowl friendly habitats.

Ducks Unlimited will work with the NRCS to reach this goal, which will benefit waterfowl across the country. Landowners interested in conserving their land in the program can contact their state Ducks Unlimited representative – contact information can be found at www.ducks.org.

Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved nearly 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.

Neil Shader
nshader@ducks.org
202.347.1530