What Is The Farmable Wetlands Program (FWP)?
The Farmable Wetlands Program (FWP) is designed to restore previously farmed wetlands and wetland buffer to improve both vegetation and water flow. FWP is a voluntary program to restore up to one million acres of farmable wetlands and associated buffers. Participants must agree to restore the wetlands, establish plant cover, and to not use enrolled land for commercial purposes. Plant cover may include plants that are partially submerged or specific types of trees.
The Farm Services Agency (FSA) runs the program through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) with assistance from other government agencies and local conservation groups.
Why Is FWP important?
By restoring farmable wetlands, FWP improves groundwater quality, helps trap and break down pollutants, prevents soil erosion, reduces downstream flood damage, and provides habitat for water birds and other wildlife. Wetlands can also be used to treat sewage and are found to be as effective as “high tech” methods.
- How Do I enroll?
- Offers for FWP are accepted throughout the year. FWP contracts last between 10 and 15 years. All enrollment offers are processed through your local FSA office.
- Am I Eligible?
- Farmers and ranchers in any state can take part in the program. There are restrictions, however, on the land and amount of acreage that can be enrolled. Land generally must have been used for agricultural purposes for 3 of the past 10 crop years, can include a man-made wetland used to process water flow for crop drainage, can have been used for aqua farming purposes, or has been used for prairie wetland overflow purposes.
- Interested landowners should check with their local FSA office for other requirements and limitations related to acreage and restricted years of activity.
- Why Should I enroll?
- Wetlands and wetland buffer areas are critical to maintaining a healthy environment. Landowners who take part in the FWP receive an annual rental payment for their enrolled acres. FSA also provides cost-sharing and other incentives to help offset the costs associated with putting these practices in place.
For further information about the program, including rental payment information, other eligibility and maintenance criteria, and land requirements, visit your local FSA office.