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News Release

NRCS Announces Funding to Address Water Quality in the Missisquoi Bay Basin

Heather Wetzstein
802-951-6796 x223

Agricultural Producers located in priority watersheds will be able to participate

COLCHESTER, VERMONT, January 25, 2013 — State Conservationist, Vicky M. Drew, announced the launch a funding source aimed at improving water quality in Vermont: the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative in the Missisquoi Bay Basin. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will manage these initiatives by making financial assistance available to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in the priority watersheds.

“The America’s Great Outdoors Initiatives will further NRCS’ partnership efforts to improve water quality using voluntary actions on private lands,” Drew said. “This initiative uses a focused approach in areas facing significant natural resource challenges. It bolsters the positive results of landscape conservation initiatives NRCS and its partners already have underway.”

Through this effort, eligible producers in the Missisquoi Bay Basin will invest in voluntary conservation practices to help provide cleaner water for their neighbors and communities. Using $546,647 in funds from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance to producers for implementing conservation practices such as over crops, filter strips and reduced tillage in critical source areas where federal investments can make a difference in improving water quality.

The Missisquoi Bay Basin is a 460,000 acre drainage area in northern Franklin and Orleans counties of Vermont. It is dominated by forestland, agricultural land, and small rural towns. The entire Basin drains to Missisquoi Bay, which has significant water quality concerns associated with nutrient loading and blue-green algae blooms.

NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year. There will be two ranking periods for the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, with the first ending on February 15 and the second on April 1, 2013. At the end of a ranking period, NRCS ranks all submitted proposals for funding consideration. This spring, NRCS will notify all applicants of the results of the rankings and begin developing contracts with selected applicants.

Since 1935, NRCS’ nationwide conservation delivery system works with private landowners to put conservation on the ground based on specific, local conservation needs, while accommodating state and national interests. For more information about the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, and all NRCS’ programs and services in Vermont, visit us online at     

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