7 CFR 1467.9 - Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program.
(a) Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP).
(1) The purpose of WREP is to target and leverage resources to address high priority wetlands protection, restoration, and enhancement objectives through agreements with States (including a political subdivision or agency of a State), nongovernmental organizations, and Indian Tribes.
(2) Funding for WREP agreements will be announced in the Federal Register.
(i) The announcement will provide details on the priorities for funding, required level of partner matching funds, ranking criteria, level of available funding, and additional criteria as determined by the Chief.
(ii) The Chief will determine the funding level for WREP on an annual basis. Funds for WREP are derived from funds available for WRP.
(3) Proposals will be submitted to the State Conservationist of the State in which the majority of the project area resides.
(i) State Conservationists will evaluate proposals based on the ranking criteria established in the announcement and provide proposals recommended for funding to the Chief.
(ii) The Chief will evaluate proposals recommended for funding and make final funding selections, in accordance with ranking factors identified in the announcement.
(4) Selected proposals and associated funding will be provided to the State Conservationist to enter into WREP agreements with the eligible partner to carry out the project.
(b) Reserved Rights Pilot.
(1) The Chief shall carry out a reserved rights pilot subject to the requirements established in this part.
(2) Under the reserved rights pilot, a landowner may reserve grazing rights in the warranty easement deed or 30-year contract, if the State Conservationist determines that the reservation and use of the grazing rights:
(i) Is compatible with the land subject to the easement or 30-year contract; and
(ii) Is consistent with the long-term wetland protection and enhancement goals for which the easement or 30-year contract was established; and
(iii) Complies with a WRPO developed with NRCS.
(3) The State Conservationist will provide public notice of the availability of the reserved rights pilot and the reserved rights template deed or 30-year contract, approved by the Chief, to be used in the pilot.
(4) Compensation for easements or 30-year contracts entered into under the reserved rights pilot will be based on the method described in § 1467.8 with the following exceptions:
(i) Section 1467.8(a)(3)(i) is adjusted to reduce the fair market value of the land by an amount equal to the value of the retained grazing rights as determined by a Uniform Standards for Professional Appraisal Practices appraisal or a market survey; and
(ii) Section 1467.8(a)(3)(ii) is adjusted to reduce the geographic area rate cap determined as described in § 1467.8(a)(4) by an amount equal to the value of the retained grazing rights.