WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced new funding to aid in the conservation and protection of critical wetlands, according to a press release.

The funding has been made available through the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP), and administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Serve (NRCS), noted the release. The project affects wetlands on private and tribal agricultural lands.

WREP allows agreements between USDA and local governments, non-governmental organizations and American Indian tribes to voluntarily enroll eligible land for its protection, restoration and enhancement, reported the release. The 2014 Farm Bill created the program.

The voluntary easements allow for the protection of wildlife and a reduction in flooding impacts on participants' lands as well as groundwater recharge, outdoor recreational and educational opportunities, stated the release.

NRCS will accept proposals until July 31, reported the release. It will consider projects from a wide range of scopes: individual to watershed-wide to ecosystem-wide.

Click here for more information on the program, including how to submit a project proposal.