7 CFR 633.4 - Program requirements.

§ 633.4 Program requirements.

(a)General. Under the WBP, the NRCS will enter 10-year agreements with eligible persons who voluntarily cooperate in the protection of wetlands and associated lands. To participate in WBP, a person will agree to the implementation of a conservation plan, the effect of which is to protect, enhance, maintain, and manage the hydrologic conditions of inundation or saturation of the soil, native vegetation, and natural topography of eligible lands. The NRCS may provide cost-share assistance for the activities that promote the protection of wetland functions and values. Specific protection actions may be undertaken by the participant or other NRCS designee.

(b)Participant eligibility. To be eligible to participate in the WBP, a person must:

(1) Be the landowner of eligible land for which enrollment is sought; or

(2) Have possession of the land by written lease over all designated acreage in the agreement for at least two years preceding the date of the agreement and will have possession over the all designated acreage for the agreement period.

(c)Eligible land.

(1) The NRCS shall determine whether land is eligible for enrollment and whether, once found eligible, the lands may be included in the program based on the likelihood of successful protection of wetland functions and values when considering the cost of entering the agreement and protection costs. Land placed under an agreement shall be specifically identified and designated for the period of the agreement.

(2) The following land is eligible for enrollment in the WBP:

(i) Privately owned inland fresh wetland areas of types 1 through 7.

(ii) Privately owned inland fresh wetland areas of types 1 through 7 which are under a drainage easement with the U.S. Department of the Interior or with a State government which permits agricultural use; or

(iii) Other privately owned land which is adjacent to or within one quarter mile of designated types 1 through 7 wetlands and which is determined by the State Conservationist to be essential for the nesting, breeding, or feeding of migratory waterfowl, or for the protection of wetland.

(d)Ineligible land. The following land is not eligible for enrollment in the WBP:

(1) Converted wetlands if the conversion was in violation of 16 U.S.C. 3821et seq.;

(2) Lands owned by an agency of the United States other than land held in trust for Indian Tribes;

(3) Land which is set aside or diverted under any other program administered by the Department of Agriculture;

(4) Land which is harvested in the first year of the agreement period prior to being designated, except for land on which timber is harvested in accordance with a Forest Management Plan which is included in the conservation plan and is approved by the State forester or equivalent State official;

(5) Lands where implementation of agreement practices would be futile due to on-site or off-site conditions; and

(6) Land on which the ownership has changed during the 2-year period preceding the first year of the agreement period unless:

(i) The new ownership was acquired by will or succession as a result of the death of the previous owner,

(ii) The land was acquired by the owner or operator to replace eligible land from which he was displaced because of its acquisition by any Federal, State, or other agency having the right of eminent domain, or

(iii) The new owner operated the land to be designated for as long as 2 years preceding the first year of the agreement and has control of such land for the agreement period.

[ 62 FR 48472, Sept. 16, 1997, as amended at 80 FR 32440, June 9, 2015]