The future remains uncertain for a federal conservation program that helps restore wetlands across the Midwest. The Wetlands Reserve Program provides money to farmers who take former wetlands out of production and restore them.
The program was re-authorized under the nine-month federal farm bill extension that congress passed at the end of last year. Even though it was reauthorized, congress has not announced how much funding the program will receive under the extension.
Even so, Paula Hingson with the Illinois office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service said applications are now being accepted for the program even though funding remains uncertain.
"We kind of expect it to be a little smaller" Hingson said, "but since we don't have our allocation yet there is still an opportunity for them to not even give us any money for it, certainly we hope that's not the case."
Hingson said until she learns how much money Congress will allocate to the program, she won’t know how many applications she can accept or how many acres can be enrolled.