In the U.S. the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers the Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) that funds the restoration of wetlands on privately-owned lands under conservation easements. These programs provide a number of potential benefits to landowners along with the wetland including access roads and reduced property taxes on the easement land. To receive these benefits, landowners agree to limit development opportunities on their land but can continue to use it for other activities such as hunting, fishing, viewing wildlife, haying, or extracting wood for personal use. We surveyed 35 participants in the NRCS program in northeastern New York State to measure factors associated with willingness to enroll land in the WRP program beyond direct monetary incentives. In addition, we conducted follow up interviews with eight program participants to enhance our understanding of landowners’ motivations to participate in the programs. We found that valuing the conservation aspects of wetlands, being retired and a female respondent were associated with willingness to enroll lands without compensation. In addition, qualitative interviews provided context to these findings such that landowners enrolled land due to 1) lived experience with wetland use and preservation; 2) a conservation ethic in regards to preserving nature; and 3) the desire to use the restored wetland as a ‘showcase’ for family and community members.
- Natural resources conservation service
- Restored wetland
- Wetland reserve program
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law