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Wetland Reserve Program to Accept Farmers

The federal government will pay farmers not to damage wetlands this year,but there have been delays.

The Wetland Reserve Program purchases certain land rights from farmers not so they don't develop or farm wetlands on their property.

The farm bill extension that congress passed last fall re-authorized the program. How much funding it would receive was not finalized until after the federal sequester went into effect.

Paula Hingson is a State Conservationist with the Illinois office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

She said she still has yet to receive the final amount of money that Illinois will get, and there is still lot of work to be done.

"The amount of money we're interested in paying them for their land, how do we want to restore the property, all of the changes that would need to be made as far as getting the easement in place. All of that is going to be crunched now into just a few months," Hingson said.

Hingson said she should receive the final funding level and be able to start work in the next few days.

The deadline for her office to finish all of the paperwork with farmers for this year’s program is in September.

Hingson said  work usually would have started last fall.

Scott Stuntz is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.