AGRICULTURE DEPUTY Secretary Chuck Conner has announced the availability of $5 million in the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) for restoration activities in 20 states. These funds will restore and protect nearly 40,000 acres of wetlands.

“This is another step towards meeting the president's wetlands initiative goal set last year to restore, improve and protect at least 3 million acres of wetlands. Through cooperative conservation efforts with federal and state agencies, private landowners and nongovernmental organizations, saving wetlands is resulting in cleaner air and water, healthier soil and improved fish and wildlife habitat,” said Conner.

WRP, administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, is a voluntary conservation program that offers landowners the opportunity to protect, restore and enhance wetlands on their property. The goal of the program is to achieve the greatest wetland functions and values and create optimum wildlife habitat on every acre enrolled in the program.

Mid-South and neighboring states receiving the WRP funds announced are:

Louisiana, $800,000; Mississippi, $100,000; Missouri, $550,000; Oklahoma, $50,000; South Carolina, $385,000; Tennessee, $75,000; and Texas, $521,125.

Additional information on WRP is available at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/wrp.