Easements and Reserves

Easements and reserves help landowners protect, restore, and enhance wetlands, grasslands, and working farms and ranches across the country.

Easements and Reserves Programs

Private landowners are key to protecting wetlands, grasslands, farms, and forests. USDA offers these programs to help keep working lands in family hands and wetlands as wetlands.

Benefits to Different Land Types



Wetlands are a home to many species and benefit society by storing floodwaters, filtering pollutants, serving as a carbon sink, and providing recreation opportunities.

Wetland easements and reserves can:

  • Protect and restore wetlands
  • Improve habitat
  • Improve water quality 



Grasslands include rangeland, pastureland, or shrubland. Easements and reserves help farmers keep grasslands working while providing improved habitat for animals that call grasslands home.

Grasslands easements and reserves can:

  • Protect native grasses and forbs
  • Improve habitat
  • Prevent the development of rural lands


Agricultural Lands

Whether they span 1 or 100 acres, privately owned farms across the nation provide open space and natural resources for all sorts of animals. Easements and reserves help farmers improve and maintain their lands.

Agricultural land easements and reserves can:

  • Improve agricultural lands
  • Prevent the development of rural lands
  • Keep working lands in family hands



From New England to California, our country's diverse forests are home to songbirds, wild game, and fish.

Forest easements and reserves can:

  • Improve wildlife habitat
  • Enhance carbon sequestration
  • Improve biodiversity

Easements and Reserves Videos

Land Trust Alliance + NRCS

Together, these organizations are keeping working lands in family hands. In the past 25 years, the NRCS has enrolled more than 24,000 easements covering over 5 million acres. In many cases, these voluntary easements were finished in partnership with local land trusts and nonprofit organizations conserving land for public benefit. (Video by Land Trust Alliance)

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Wetland Reserve Easements

Nathan Hudson, a Sussex County farmer has enrolled more than 500 acres in the USDA-NRCS WRE program. The benefits are immense and his commitment to conservation improves water quality, provides wildlife habitats. (Video by Sussex Conservation District)

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Protecting Endangered Butterfly with CRP

CRP is helping to restore habitat for an important pollinator – the Karner Blue butterfly. Here’s a report from Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

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