EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), an agency under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), works with farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners nationwide to identify and address natural resource objectives in balance with operational goals to benefit
soil, water, wildlife, and related natural resources locally, regionally, and nationally.
The purpose of this notice is to announce the availability of Wetland Mitigation Banking Program grant funds for the development and establishment of mitigation banks and banking opportunities solely for agricultural producers with wetlands subject to the Wetland Conservation Compliance provisions of the 1985 Food Security Act (as amended).
NRCS has up to $9 million available for obligation through a nationwide competitive process.
The maximum grant award is $1 million.
Agreements governing the establishment of mitigation banks will last for up to 5 years in duration.
NRCS will accept proposals from eligible entities that include federally recognized Indian Tribes, State and local units of government, for-profit entities, and nongovernmental organizations.
Proposals will be accepted from applicants in any of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Caribbean Area (Puerto Rico and the U. S. Virgin Islands), and the Pacific Islands Area (Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands).
NRCS will give priority to proposals from geographic areas with significant numbers of cropped agricultural wetlands.This notice identifies the objectives, eligibility criteria, and application instructions for mitigation bank proposals.
Proposals will be screened for completeness and compliance with the provisions of this notice.
Incomplete and noncompliant proposals will be eliminated from the competitive ranking process, and notification of elimination will be sent to the applicant.
Selected applicants will work directly with NRCS to develop a mitigation banking instrument that will establish an operational bank, and offer mitigation credits to interested USDA program participants for the purposes of addressing wetland conservation compliance.
Program funds cannot be used to acquire any interest in land, including an interest acquired through an easement.