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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Healthy Rivers INitiative > Get Involved > Wetlands Reserve Program Wetlands Reserve Program

What is the Wetlands Reserve Program?

The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) is a voluntary program that provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners and tribes to restore, protect and enhance wetlands in exchange for retiring eligible land from agriculture under a conservation easement.

 

What is the Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program?

The Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP) is a component of the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP). It leverages assistance from NRCS partners to provide financial and technical assistance to eligible landowners to protect, restore and enhance wetlands and improve wildlife habitat, including threatened and endangered species. The Wabash River Corridor WREP project includes nine Indiana counties: Posey, Gibson, Knox, Sullivan, Vigo, Vermillion, Parke, Fountain and Warren. Farmers in those counties who have land in the Wabash River floodplain and meet WRP requirements, are eligible for participation.

What are the benefits of the Wetlands Reserve Program?

There are many benefits to the Wetlands Reserve Program. The program:

  • Offers payment, based on the agricultural value, for wetlands that have previously been drained and converted to agricultural uses.
  • Pays up to 100 percent reimbursement for restoration costs.
  • Lets landowners retain control of access. 
  • Lets landowners maintain ownership of land – they have the right to hunt, fish, trap and pursue other appropriate recreational uses.
  • Allows for land, including any easement, to be sold
  • Provides additional benefits for the entire community, such as:
    • Improved water quality enhanced habitat for wildlife
    • Reduced soil erosion
    • Reduced flooding
    • Improved water supply

Landowner Use and Responsibility

In all cases, the landowner retains ownership and responsibility for the land, including any property taxes based on its reassessed value as wetland or nonagricultural land. The landowner controls access to the land; has the right to hunt, fish, trap, and pursue other appropriate recreational uses; and may sell or lease land enrolled in WRP.

The landowner may request uses which are compatible with protecting and enhancing the wetland and associated upland habitat. Landowners may make compatible-use requests throughout the life of the easement or agreement. Compatible Use Agreements may be issued for activities that meet the purposes and intent of the WRP, as determined by NRCS in conjunction with USFWS.

Additional information about WRP

Eligibility
How to enroll
WRP Success Stories
Additional Information