MADISON -- The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has created a new grant program to fund wetland restoration, enhancement and preservation projects.
The program is open to Wisconsin landowners, nonprofit conservation organizations, Wisconsin tribes and any entity registered with the Department of Financial Institutions.
Program funding comes from DNR's new in-lieu fee mitigation program, which was approved in November 2014 to expand mitigation options statewide by providing permit applicants another compensatory mitigation option to offset permitted wetland impacts within the same watershed where they occurred. The first funding cycle of this new grant program includes approximately $5.2 million that has been paid into the program as a result of permitted developments and divided among five of the 12 service area watersheds that make up the statewide in-lieu fee program.
"We are excited to provide a new opportunity to engage the public and other conservation partners in our collective efforts to restore, enhance and preserve wetland functions across Wisconsin," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp.
Matt Matrise, DNR coordinator for the in-lieu fee program, said program guidance for the new Wisconsin Wetland Conservation Trust Grant Program was prepared following public input opportunities this past December. Applications will be accepted until the May 16, 2016 deadline.
There are no specific minimum grant sizes, but funding levels are limited to the announced dollar amounts in each watershed service area. Projects could range from restoration of agriculture crop lands to return them to their previous wetland condition, removal of wetland invasive species and improvements of hydrology to preservation of high quality wetland resources.
For more information on the grant program, visit dnr.wi.gov and search for "grants." Navigate to the "Conservation and Wildlife" funding category to locate the new "Wisconsin Wetland Conservation Trust" program.