Landowners in Wisconsin have until Sept. 30 to be considered for Emergency Watershed Protection Program-Floodplain Easements. Congress has provided the U.S Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service in Wisconsin more than $7 million for the program.
The program’s focus is to provide landowners another option for frequently flooded agricultural fields. Forested land, fallow land and pasture also are eligible, either alone or as part of a larger parcel. But flooded cropland in a floodplain is the primary focus.
The Emergency Watershed Protection Program-Floodplain Easements program is not a farm bill program. Landowners who are ineligible for farm bill programs because of greater adjusted gross income may be eligible for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program-Floodplain Easements program. Landowners who haven’t complied with wetland or erosion protections also may be eligible.
The program offers permanent easements to landowners to permanently retire marginal cropland and other associated land to natural habitat. Landowners are paid the lesser of three options.
- area-wide market analysis of average payment for certain land types
- landowner offer
- an appraisal
Restoration-practice costs are paid by the program. The first application deadline is Sept. 30, with 2019 projects selected in mid-November. If landowners submit more applications than the Natural Resources Conservation Service can fund, the agency will request additional funding for 2020.
Landowners must present proof of recent flooding from the past year or flood damage at least twice within the past 10 years. Required are photographs, insurance claims or USDA Farm Service Agency disaster-assistance requests and a map with proposed easement area.