USDA Offers Funds to Protect Wetlands and Preserve Prime Farmlands

Applications due by March 5, 2021

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Delaware is now accepting applications from landowners and groups interested in restoring and protecting wetlands and conserving working farms through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).

This signup includes both the Wetland Reserve Easement and Agricultural Land Easement components of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), which compensates landowners for enrolling their land in easements. Applications are accepted on a continuous basis; however, the deadline to apply in order to be considered for fiscal year 2021 funding is March 5, 2021.

“Our easement program provides resources for Delaware producers to protect their agricultural lands from development and restore and return beneficial wetlands to their natural conditions,” said Kasey Taylor, Delaware NRCS State Conservationist.

The ACEP – Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) component restores and enhances wetlands in order to provide habitat for wildlife, improve water quality by filtering sediments and chemicals, reduce flooding, recharge groundwater and more.

NRCS provides technical and financial assistance directly to private and Tribal landowners.

Eligible landowners may choose to enroll in a permanent or 30 year easement.

A Landowner’s Guide to ACEP: Wetland Reserve Easements provides a detailed overview of the program and enrollment process. It is available online here. Applications for ACEP Wetlands Reserve Easement are available at

The ACEP – Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) component protects the long term viability of the nation’s food supply by preventing conversion of productive croplands and grasslands to non-agricultural uses. Eligible partners include state and local governments and non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland protection programs. The ALE conservation easements payment is determined by an appraisal completed on the property.

Learn more about ACEP and other Farm Bill programs at Or, call your USDA Service Center. In Sussex County, call 302-856-3990, ext. 3; in Kent County, call 302-741-2600, ext. 3; and in New Castle County, call 302-832-3100, ext. 3.