Thanks to USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) employees in Arkansas Fiscal Year 2012 was an incredible year! We worked with partners to get more conservation implemented than in any previous year – including floods (from 2011) and drought (worst we’ve seen in years) and everything in between!
Arkansas NRCS has developed a reputation as a strong organization with a “can-do” attitude when it comes to helping people help the land.
Across the state, Arkansas faces environmental and natural resource challenges. NRCS has adopted a progressive landscape approach to address the most pressing natural resource concerns — strategically investing federal funds and leveraging partner resources across traditional boundaries such as state and county lines, to implement aggressive conservation practices.
In Arkansas, this strategy has resulted in:
Reducing sedimentation and nutrient loads to water bodies in the Illinois River Sub-Basin and Eucha-Spavinaw Lake Watershed while maintaining the food and fiber production in the area. The project is located in portions of Benton and Washington counties in Arkansas. Funding is assisting landowners in the 576, 517 acre area in Arkansas.
More opportunities for agricultural producers to reduce nutrient and sediment run-off from fields while maintaining or improving production levels, as well as increased emphasis on wildlife habitat restoration. Arkansas has 24 active Mississippi River Basin Initiative projects – 19 Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative and five Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program. Total approved funding for the life of the projects is more than $123 million. NRCS has provided more than $40 million in financial assistance to Arkansas landowners since 2010 through MRBI.
Improving water quality and aquatic habitats in Cousart Bayou – Little Cypress Bayou, Upper Deep Bayou and Lower Deep Bayou watersheds in Jefferson and Lincoln counties. Arkansas’s three watersheds total 62,473 acres and were selected based on the high amount of sediment and total phosphorus concentration that flow into tributaries of the Bayou Bartholomew watershed. Deep Bayou and Jacks Bayou, which flow through the watersheds, have been identified as impaired waterways because of excessive levels of siltation primarily from agricultural practices.
I know there are many other things that could be listed – but these are just a few. They clearly indicate to me, however, that this has been a great year – the information in this document substantiates just how significant our accomplishments have been.