Applications should be submitted by Oct. 18

In response to flooding in Iowa, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is announcing the availability of $36 million to fund conservation easements on agricultural lands damaged by flooding statewide.

Funds are available through the floodplain easement component of the Emergency Watershed Protection Program. NRCS field offices are accepting applications through Friday, Oct. 18.

Through the EWP-FPE program, eligible applicants voluntarily agree to sell a permanent conservation easement to the United States through NRCS. Compensation is based on the value of the easement rights acquired based on the Geographic Area Rate Cap and corresponding market analysis.

These easements may occur on public or private agricultural land and/or residential properties damaged by flooding. Applications will be prioritized by a statewide ranking. NRCS will work with landowners to restore the easement to its natural floodplain condition, to the greatest extent feasible.

“Landowners across Iowa have faced – and continue to face – significant challenges from flooding,” said Iowa NRCS State Conservationist Kurt Simon. “This easement program offers an option that alleviates the stress of operating in a floodplain while still retaining ownership of their property.”

Iowa landowners are encouraged to contact their local NRCS field offices to apply or learn more about floodplain easement opportunities. More information is available online at www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/programs/landscape/ewpp/?cid=nrcs143_008216.

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