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Wetland restoration easement program sign-up ends on July 18

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Landowners who are interested in restoring a previously drained wetland should contact the Douglas County NRCS/SWCD office and ask about the RIM-WRP partnership. The deadline to apply is July 18, and the payment rates are very competitive because of the state and federal funds available until the end of the current federal fiscal year.

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Landowners may be eligible for about 140 percent of the estimated market value. Amounts vary by township, so contact the Douglas County NRCS/SWCD office at (320) 763-3191 for the payment rates for your land.

If you have a drained wetland that is difficult to farm, a restored wetland could be an asset to your operation. These payment rates are very competitive, and the state and federal funds also pay for the project costs, including engineering and establishing wetland vegetation.

Wetlands are essential feeding and nesting areas for ducks and other migratory birds. Many landowners who have restored wetlands on their property have noticed a dramatic increase in songbirds and other wildlife. Restored wetlands also provide other public benefits, such as additional flood storage and improved water quality.

This program is available through a partnership that combines the state's Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) reserve conservation easement program with the USDA Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP). Combining these two easement programs allows state funds to leverage federal funds for conservation that are available through the recently enacted 2008 Federal Farm Bill.

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