The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and local water conservation districts work together to provide technical assistance to provide Texas landowners to help conserve, improve, and develop their soil, water, plant, wildlife and related resources. There are several financial assistance programs available through the NRCS that can help you develop a wetland and offer wetland management incentives.
The Texas Prairie Wetlands Program is administered and funded by the USDA-NRSC, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Ducks Unlimited. Cost-share assistance (75 to 100%) is available to restore, improve, and create wetlands on private lands for waterfowl management. A 10 to 15 year wetland management plan and written agreement is developed jointly and is carried out by the landowner. NRCS and Ducks Unlimited write the management plan, survey, and design any need water control or earthen structures. The landowner agrees to follow the management plan (Wetland Development Agreement) for the life of the contract.
The Wetland Reserve Program is a federally funded program that administered by the NRCS. There are two basic requirements for the wetland to be eligible: The wetland hydrology must have been altered, and the wetland must be restorable. Applications are reviewed and compete on a statewide basis for Wetland Reserve Program funds.
Wetland Restoration Cost-Share Agreement – The landowner agrees to a minimum 10 year contract in return for cost-share (75%) to restore the wetlands. The landowner agrees to manage and sue the area according to the Restoration Plan.
30 Year Conservation Easement – The landowner sells a 30 year easement to the NRCS for 75% of the appraised agricultural value of the land. NRCS pays 75% of the cost to restore the wetland. Management and use of the land during the easement period is granted to the landowner by NRCS through a management plan. The landowner is allowed some use of the land through the restoration plan and by making compatible use request, which must be approved by the NRCS.
Permanent Easement – The landowner sells a permanent easement to the NRCS for 100% of the appraise agricultural value of the land. NRCS pays 100% of the cost to restore the wetland. A permanent easement is attached to the deed. The landowner agrees to manage the land according to a wetland management plan written by the NRCS to benefit native plants and waterfowl and describing acceptable uses of the land.