By: Shelly Morris, Western Kentucky Project Director
As a new member of the western Kentucky Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) Team, I’m feeling a lot of team spirit these days. My involvement with this group is the result of the recently initiated Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP) through the Mississippi River Basin Initiative. This project, funded in summer of 2011, aims to restore and permanently protect 5,500 acres of wetland in the Mississippi River floodplain in western Kentucky. This is a large task and will take the effort of many people to be successful. The WRP Team handles all aspects of the program at the local level, from outreach and enrollment, to restoration and monitoring.
The west Ky WRP Team, formed in 2004, is made up of staff from the USDA NRCS, Ky. Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, US Fish and Wildlife, Graves County Conservation District, and – now – TNC. The Kentucky Chapter has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with NRCS to make this official. In addition to practical things such as shared office space and equipment, this new partnership allows for collaboration on a daily basis and effective communication for all involved.
Although this project is still in it’s infancy and there’s not much to report (yet!) in the way of on the ground progress, I can definitely say that our involvement with this team is off to a very positive start!