Financial assistance for landowners along Tippecanoe River
Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 12:46 PM
By The Nature Conservancy
WINAMAC, INDIANA — October 15, 2010 — Protecting floodplain areas of Tippecanoe River is important, both for water quality and for reducing flood catastrophes. You may have wanted to do just that with your land, but found it too costly to do so. Landowners in the Tippecanoe River watershed now have a few options to offset these costs.
Through the use of a conservation easement, landowners can protect their forests and wetlands in the floodplain area.
A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement that regulates management activities on land. It is an important conservation tool used by many land trusts throughout the country. Now it is helping to protect the Tippecanoe River. Land management activities on properties under an easement are regulated to protect the conservation values of the property (i.e. forests and wetlands) in perpetuity. While conservation easements do not grant the public access to these properties, they do provide the landowner a means of protecting land and ensuring it is managed for conservation into the future.
"Conservation easements are a great way of ensuring continuation of a landowner’s conservation management activities and also a great way to pass on a landowner’s conservation legacy for the future" says Kent Wamsley, Project Manager for The Nature Conservancy’s Wabash Rivers Initiative. "Easements allow landowners to continue to protect the Tippecanoe River long after they have sold the land or passed it on to family members."
"Protecting floodplain areas is a key part of protecting and maintaining water quality and habitat for important species in the River," says Wamsley. "Protecting the floodplain area will also help deal with floods in the future, as these floodplain areas provide a natural area where floodwaters can spread out and slow down, and it allows the river to store these floodwaters, rather than quickly ushering them downstream."
Wamsley added that landowners in the Tippecanoe River watershed have been good stewards of the land, allowing the Tippecanoe to remain a healthy and diverse river. Now he’s encouraging landowners to take it one step further and permanently protect these floodplain lands that make such an impact on our freshwater system and our quality of life.
A program in the Tippecanoe River watershed, called the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) allows landowners who own forested floodplain acreage along the Tippecanoe River to enroll their land into a conservation easement. This program, which is a partnership between The Nature Conservancy and the State Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources, is aimed at protecting the forested and wetland nature of floodplain land in the Tippecanoe River watershed, and ensuring that this land can continue to provide benefits to water quality. CREP is a 15-year program that will pay landowners rental rates (determined by soil type) to enroll their eligible acres.
This program is currently looking for applicants who desire to protect their floodplain areas and want to participate in the program. Opportunities for enrollment are available to landowners whose land lies within the floodplain of the Tippecanoe River. Landowners who participate in the program receive a one-time payment of $500 per acre for eligible land placed under easement in the Tippecanoe River floodplain.
To involve your land in a floodplain easement, or to find out more information about floodplain easements, landowners are encouraged to contact Kent Wamsley at The Nature Conservancy’s Wabash Rivers Initiative office in Winamac at (574) 946-7491 firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the local Soil and Water Conservation District office in their respective county.
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