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USDA funds $14 million in Iowa

The Natural Resources Con­servation Service (NRCS) will purchase 30 conservation easements for wetland restoration in Iowa during fiscal year 2013, officials said last week. The easements, offered through the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), cover 2,829 acres. The NRCS has restored more than 175,000 wetland acres in Iowa since the inception of WRP in 1992.

The Northern Plains Migratory Bird Habitat Initiative, which aims to provide habitat for migrating birds, helped fund 12 of Iowa’s new WRP easements. New easements through the Bird Habitat Initiative cover 860 acres in the Prairie Pothole Region, located in the north-central part of the state.

Cropland areas that are often wet or prone to flooding make prime candidates for wetland restoration, said Larry Beeler, NRCS assistant state conservationist for programs in Iowa.