NRCS Announces National Water Quality Initiative in Alabama
Alabama NRCS State Conservationist Dr. William Puckett announced the launch of a new National Water Quality Initiative committed to improving four impaired waterways in Alabama. NRCS will manage the initiative by making funds available to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in the selected watersheds.
“The Water Quality Initiative will further NRCS’s partnership efforts to improve water quality using voluntary actions on private lands,” Puckett said. “This initiative is 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 Upper Scarham Creek (DeKalb County); Cox Mill Creek-Hurricane Creek (Geneva County); Turkey Creek-Luxapallila Creek (Fayette County); and Binion Creek (Tuscaloosa County) will invest in voluntary conservation actions to help provide cleaner water for their neighbors and communities. The selected watersheds were identified with help from state agencies, partners, and the NRCS State Technical Committee.
Using funds from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, NRCS will provide funding and advice to producers on installing conservation practices such as cover crops, filter strips and terraces in watersheds with impairments where the federal investment can make a difference to improve water quality.
“American farmers are good stewards of the environment, especially when they have the tools they need to protect or improve fish and wildlife habitat and water quality,” said NRCS Chief Dave White. “We look forward to collaborating with producers in key watersheds to help them have a positive impact on streams with impaired water quality.”
NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year. Remember to check with your local NRCS office to see if you are located in a selected watershed. All applications for funding consideration, during this fiscal year, must be received by June 15, 2012. This summer, NRCS will notify all applicants of the results and begin developing contracts with selected applicants.
Since 1935, NRCS’s 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.
Interested producers should visit their nearest USDA Service Center to determine eligibility. Individuals are not eligible for EQIP until they have completed the Farm Bill eligibility requirements. Contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service office or Farm Service Agency Office to begin this process. NRCS field offices are listed in the telephone directory under U.S. Department of Agriculture or on-line at http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov.