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Conservation Toolkit

U.S. Forest Service | Environment and Natural Resources

Sources of Funding for Land Acquisitions and Easements

Table 4 – Sources of federal funding for land acquisitions and easements.

Federal Sources of Funding for Land Acquisitions and Easements
Name Purpose Location Contact
Bonneville Power Administration Mitigation Funds BPA funding to states and tribes to purchase private lands in fee or easement for hydropower dam mitigation. Greater Yellowstone Area and Snake River Watershed
Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act Revenue from BLM land sales is used for federal land acquisition, especially inholdings, in 11 western states and Alaska. Program expired in 2010 and was extended for one year by emergency reauthorization; efforts are underway to reauthorize the program. United States

H.R. 4853: Middle Class Tax Relief Act In late 2010, Congress renewed a lapsed tax incentive for voluntary conservation easements that will be in effect through December 31, 2011. This incentive applies to a landowner’s federal income tax and: 1) raises the deduction for donating a conservation agreement from 30% of income in any year to 50%; 2) allows farmers and ranchers to deduct up to 100% of income; and 3) increases the number of years over which a donor can take deductions from six to 16 years. United States For more information, see:

The tax credit is claimed
through IRS income tax filings.
NPS Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Provides technical assistance to project partners by helping to achieve community-defined goals, assessing resources, developing concept plans, engaging the public in participation, and identifying potential sources of funding for conservation and outdoor recreation projects. United States

(303) 969-2855

NRCS Emergency Floodplain Easements Emergency Watershed Protection Program buys floodplain easements as an emergency measure in perpetuity. Up to 100% of restoration costs paid. United States (307) 233-6750
NRCS Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) Up to 50% matching funds to state, tribal, or local governments and non-governmental organizations to purchase permanent conservation easements. United States

(307) 233-6750

NRCS Grassland Reserve Program (GRP)  Permanent or 30-year easements or multi-year rental agreements on private grass/shrublands under threat of conversion to non-grassland uses. Cost-share program. United States

(307) 233-6750

NRCS Wetland Reserve Program Permanent or 30-year easements, multi-year rental agreements, or restoration agreements on private lands with restorable wetlands. Cost-share program. United States; Greater Yellowstone Area and Snake River Watershed

(307) 233-6750



NRCS Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) Up to 75% landowner cost-share to develop upland, wetland, riparian, and aquatic habitat areas. Landowner voluntarily limits future use of the land for 5–15 years. United States

(307) 233-6750

USFS Forest Legacy Program Federal funding granted to states from the USFS to purchase private forest lands in fee or in easement; 75% of project funding comes from the federal government, 25% comes from other sources. United States

(303) 275-5239


USFWS Conservation Banking Program Owner accepts easement to protect federally listed threatened or endangered species and is able to sell credits for threatened and endangered species elsewhere in the recovery area. United States (303) 236-7905
USFWS Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund – Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition Grants Program Federal matching funds to states or groups to acquire land and easements associated with approved Habitat Conservation Plans for imperiled species. Four grant programs are available through the fund. They include the “traditional” conservation grants and the “nontraditional” grants: Habitat Conservation Plan land acquisition, habitat conservation planning assistance, and recovery land acquisition grants. United States

(303) 236-7905


USFWS Neo-Tropical Migratory Bird Conservation Fund Matching funds to federal, state, and local government and non-government entities for migratory bird conservation projects and land acquisitions. United States

(703) 358-1784


USFWS North American Wetlands Conservation Act Matching grants for fee and easement acquisition to benefit wetlands associated with migratory birds and other wildlife. United States

(703) 358-1784


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