Around 70 people came to the Rockford Sportsman’s Club on Monday, March 28 to hear about the programs available to assist property owners with wetland restoration on their land. The Rogue River Watershed Council and Trout Unlimited Inc., in partnership with Timberland Resource Conservation & Development, the Kent Conservation District, the Izaak Walton League, and the Department of Environmental Quality hosted this free informational workshop. Speakers included: Rob Zbiciak, Wetland Restoration and Watersheds Coordinator for the Department of Environmental Quality; Becky Otto, Wetland Reserve Program Coordinator for the Natural Resources Conservation Service; and Gib King, a fish and wildlife biologist for the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Zbiciak started the workshop by talking about the importance of wetlands in our landscape and wetland loss in the state of Michigan. Over half of Michigan’s wetlands have been drained and converted for agricultural use or other types of development. Wetlands serve a very important role in the landscape by improving water quality, flood storage and groundwater recharge. The loss of wetlands has increased the frequency and severity of flood events. An important function of wetlands is that they reduce sediment and nutrients in surface water before it enters our streams, lakes and rivers. Restoring wetlands is one of the best conservation practices available for improving water quality and quantity. Otto and King spoke for the second half of the meeting about the two programs available for wetland restoration. The first was the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), which restores and protects wetlands converted to agricultural use. By enrolling in WRP, landowners with land that was formerly wetlands can convert these lands back to their original state. WRP provides financial assistance to restore and protect wetlands, and to enhance degraded wetlands. For Kent County, landowners can receive up to $3,689 per acre in this program. The landowner can enter into either a 30-year easement or permanent easement that will insure the land is maintained as wetland habitat. In order to enroll land in WRP, the land must be owned privately or by a tribe and cannot have changed ownership within the previous seven years unless adequate assurances can be provided by the landowner. The second program discussed […]
The Rogue River Watershed Council
Did you know that restoring wetlands on your property can put “cash” in your pocket? Do you own property that was historically wet but the natural drainage has been altered by the installation of ditches or agricultural drain tiles? Do you own marginal agricultural land that is often difficult to plant in the spring or harvest in the fall because of wetness? Are you interested in receiving technical assistance and cost-share money to improve wildlife habitat on your property by restoring wetlands? You could be eligible to receive between $2,000 and $5,000 per acre for land that is restored to a wetland and protected with a conservation easement! The Rogue River Watershed Council and Trout Unlimited Inc., in partnership with Timberland RC&D, the Kent Conservation District, the Izaak Walton League, and the Department of Environmental Quality, will be hosting a free wetland workshop for landowners at the Rockford Sportsman’s Club, 1115 Northland Drive, on Monday, March 28, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The workshop will highlight programs that assist private landowners to restore historic wetlands on their properties. Landowners that meet federal requirements may be eligible for wetland restoration payments that pay between $2,000 and $5,000 per acre in Kent, Newaygo and Ottawa counties. Hear from leading wetland experts including representatives from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. If you have an interest in restoring wetland habitat on your property, this is the free workshop for you. Please RSVP by March 21 to Nichol De Mol at email@example.com or (231) 557-6362.