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FAQ

Photo by Steve Droter/Chesapeake Bay Program

Do you have a question for Wetlands Work? Read our list of frequently asked questions from landowners like you. If you have a question that hasn’t been answered here, ask us by filling out the form below.

Incentives and Benefits

  • Will I earn money by restoring a wetland on agricultural land?

    Most landowners who participate in a wetland restoration program receive money that will cover a portion or the full cost of their restoration project. Some landowners can earn additional money through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, which covers all restoration costs and gives landowners in some states a yearly rental payment. Landowners may also earn money by leasing their wetlands to hunters.

  • Will I see wildlife in my wetland?

    Wetlands provide habitat to a range of plants and animals, including fish, frogs, turtles, waterfowl, songbirds and mammals.

  • Will my wetland benefit my farm?

    By capturing water flowing over the land, wetlands prevent erosion and keep nutrients and sediment from entering creeks and streams. By storing water, wetlands recharge local groundwater supplies. And by cycling nutrients through the ecosystem, wetlands encourage plant growth.

  • What are the benefits of restoring a wetland on my property?

    Many farms in the Chesapeake Bay watershed contain land that was once drained to make room for crops. Because this once-drained land may continue to flood or contain low-oxygen soil, it can be of marginal value to farmers. Restoring this land to a wetland can create habitat for plants and animals, a place to hunt, fish, watch birds or photograph the natural world, and a natural filter that controls erosion and stops nutrients and sediment from entering creeks and streams.

  • Are there financial incentives to restoring a wetland on agricultural land?

    Different funding programs have different financial incentives for participants. Use our searchable directory to find a funding program near you.


Maintaining Your Wetland

  • Who will maintain my wetland?

    If your wetland is funded by an easement or cost share program, you will likely sign a contract with that program. This contract will describe what you must do to maintain the wetland on your property. Your maintenance responsibilities could include mowing, managing water levels or removing woody or invasive plants.

  • How long will I have to keep my wetland in place?

    If your wetland is funded by an easement or cost share program, you will likely sign a contract with that program. This contract will describe how long your wetland must remain in place. While cost share programs often require 10- to 15-year commitments, conservation easements can require land to remain a wetland forever.


Using Your Wetland

  • How will my wetland impact the potential sale of my property?

    Easements are designed to ensure your wetland remains protected even if your land changes hands. If your wetland was funded by a cost share or other program and you want to sell your property before your contract is up, you should discuss your plans with a wetland planner.

  • Can I grow crops in my wetland?

    If your wetland is funded by an easement or cost share program, you will likely sign a contract with that program. This contract will describe what you can and cannot do with your wetland. In most cases, tilling soil, growing crops or engaging in other agricultural activities within the boundaries of your wetland is not allowed.

  • Can I hunt in my wetland?
    If your wetland is funded by an easement or cost share program, you will likely sign a contract with that program. This contract will describe what you can and cannot do with your wetland. In most cases, hunting within the boundaries of your wetland is allowed.
  • Can I engage in recreational activities in my wetland?

    If your wetland is funded by an easement or cost share program, you will likely sign a contract with that program. This contract will describe what you can and cannot do with your wetland. In most cases, hunting, fishing, canoeing and kayaking within the boundaries of your wetland is allowed.


Costs

  • Can I receive financial assistance for wetland restoration?

    Different funding programs have different guidelines for participation. Most programs require applicants to own the land on which a wetland will be restored. Some programs require applicants to have owned the land for a certain amount of time. Other programs will only fund wetland restoration on certain kinds of land, like cropland, rangeland or pastureland. Applicants may also face requirements related to their financial history. A wetland planner can help you determine your eligibility for a funding program near you.

  • Does restoring a wetland require out-of-pocket expenses?
    Your out-of-pocket expenses will depend on the program that's funding your restoration project and the location of your land. While easements usually cover all restoration costs, cost share programs require landowners to pay for part of a restoration project. Cost share rates can vary from state to state.

Funding Programs

  • What is the difference between a conservation easement, a cost share and other funding programs?

    A conservation easement is a legal agreement that a landowner makes to restrict the type and amount of development that can take place on his or her property. A cost share means that a portion of the restoration costs are covered by a landowner and a portion of the restoration costs are covered by a funding agency. A loan is the lending of money by one or more individuals, organizations or other entities to other individuals, organizations or other entities. Grants are non-repayable funds or products dispersed or gifted by one party to a recipient. Financial assistance is cash that compensates a landowner for successfully installing a conservation practice.

  • How do I know which funding program is right for me?

    A wetland planner can help you compare funding programs near you.

  • If I participate in a funding program, what kind of payments will I receive?

    Cost share programs usually cover a percentage of wetland restoration costs. Easements usually cover all wetland restoration costs. Some funding programs provide one-time payouts, while others provide yearly payments over a set period of time. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program is unique: in addition to covering all restoration costs, it gives landowners in some states a yearly rental payment.

  • How does the government fund wetland restoration?
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture receives federal funding to support wetland restoration through the Farm Bill. Two agencies within this department--the Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Farm Service Agency--run programs that support wetland restoration on agricultural lands. Individual states fund wetland restoration and provide technical assistance through local Soil and Water Conservation Districts.
  • Are there funding options outside of government programs?
    Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy and other nonprofit organizations run programs that support wetland restoration on agricultural lands. In some cases, these organizations provide both funding and technical assistance.

Building Your Wetland

  • How long will it take to restore my wetland?

    Restoring a wetland is a multi-step process that typically takes one to two years to complete.


Other

  • I'm a wetland planner or technical service provider. What should I do if my funding program isn't the best fit for a landowner?

    If a landowner is not eligible for the funding program(s) offered by your agency or organization, use our searchable directory to find programs that could be a better fit. You could also direct a landowner to the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the Farm Service Agency, his or her local Soil and Water Conservation District, or a nonprofit organization like Ducks Unlimited or The Nature Conservancy.

  • Will my wetland attract bugs and insects?

    Most landowners do not see an increase in pests once their wetland has been restored. In fact, by bringing new plants and animals onto your property, wetlands can increase biodiversity and reduce the presence of some pests. Some wetland critters, for instance, are natural mosquito predators.

  • Can I see a restored wetland near me?

    Explore our collection of success stories or find a wetland planner who may be able to arrange a visit to a restoration project near you.

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