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News Release

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Accepting Applications through Feb. 13, 2012, for 10 Mississippi River Basin Initiative projects in Arkansas

Little Rock, Ark., Jan. 9, 2012 – Farmers and landowners in numerous counties in Arkansas have until Feb. 13, 2012, to submit applications to receive cost-share assistance to implement conservation practices through 10 Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI) projects. Applicants can sign up at their local U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service field service center.

"USDA is working aggressively to improve the health of the Mississippi River Basin," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.  "The funding will help producers implement a system of conservation practices that will control soil erosion, improve soil quality, and provide wildlife habitat."

“The MRBI projects in Arkansas are being implemented working with our conservation partners to accelerate conservation treatment to improve water quality, maintain productivity and enhance wildlife habitat,” said NRCS State Conservationist Michael Sullivan. 

The main focus for all projects is to improve water quality; however, for 2012 water quantity was added as a secondary concern.

The projects open for sign-ups are:

  • L’Anguille River Watershed Coalition – The L’Anguille River has been designated as an impaired watershed by the Environmental Protection Agency due to excessive siltation and turbidity from agricultural sources.  The project will use practices ranging from conservation cover and nutrient management to filter strips and riparian forest buffers to mitigate the amount of nutrients currently reaching the water course through soil erosion.  Funding is available for landowners in portions of Cross and Poinsett counties.
     
  • Point Remove Wetlands Reclamation and Irrigation District - The project area lies within portions of Conway, Pope, Van Buren and Yell counties.  The project partners will assist agricultural producers in 15 sub-watersheds of the Lake Conway-Point Remove basin to adopt a systems approach with a variety of core and supporting conservation practices to address natural resource concern of water quality pertaining to nutrient runoff and water management.  They will focus on avoiding excess application of nutrients and water on fields; controlling the amount of nutrient and water runoff from fields into the watershed; and trapping nutrients before they leave the field.
     
  • St. Francis County and Lee County Conservation Districts, Outlet Larkin Creek - The project in the L’Anguille River basin in St. Francis and Lee counties is designed to reduce sediment and nutrients entering the impaired waters from agricultural lands.  The project will assist agricultural producers in the area in managing runoff from agricultural fields by helping them to install core conservation practices that will ensure proper application of nutrients and irrigation water, reduce the amount of excessive runoff from fields, and use filter strips to trap sediment and nutrients before they leave the field.
     
  • Northeast Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts, Lower St. Francis – The goal of the project is to reduce the nutrient loss from agricultural land (primarily rice and soybeans) through improved nutrient use efficiency and reduced runoff from agricultural fields.  The focus of the conservation efforts will be utilization of variable rate fertilizer application rate technology and improved irrigation water management.  Funding is available for landowners in portions of Crittenden, Cross, Mississippi and Poinsett counties.
     
  • Northeast Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts, Little River Ditches - The goal of the five-year project is to reduce the nutrient loss from agricultural land (primarily cotton) through improved nutrient use efficiency and reduced runoff from agricultural fields.  The focus of the conservation efforts will be utilization of variable rate fertilizer application rate technology and improved irrigation water management.  Funding is available for landowners in portions of Craighead, Mississippi and Poinsett counties.
     
  • Cache River Nutrient Loss Reduction, Arkansas Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils, Inc. – The goal of the project is to assist agriculture producers in cultivating conservation measures and implementing practices to address nutrient management in the watershed. This funding is available for landowners in portions of Monroe, St. Francis and Woodruff counties.
     
  • Middle Bayou Macon, Desha County Conservation District – The goal of the project is to improve nutrient management in the watershed, especially the application and utilization of nitrogen and phosphorus; reduce nutrient loads entering the watershed; maintain agricultural productivity; enhance wetlands; improve fish and wildlife habitat; and improve water quality and biological health in streams. This funding is available for landowners in portions of Desha and Chicot counties.
     
  • Lower St. Francis River Nutrient Loss Reduction, Crittenden County Conservation District – The goal of the project is to reduce nutrient loss from agricultural land in four adjacent 12-digit Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) watersheds in the Lower St. Francis Watershed by improving nutrient use efficiency and reducing runoff.  This funding is available for landowners in portions of Crittenden, Cross and St. Francis counties.
     
  • Bayou Boeuf, Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts and Louisiana Association of Conservation Districts – The goals of the project are to improve nutrient management in the watershed, especially the application and utilization of nitrogen and phosphorus, reduce nutrient loads entering the watershed, maintain agricultural productivity, enhance wetlands, improve fish and wildlife habitat benefits, and improve water quality and biological health in streams.  This funding is available for landowners in portions of Ashley and Chicot counties in Arkansas and Morehouse and West Carroll parishes in Louisiana.
     
  • Lower Bayou Macon, Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts and Louisiana Association of Conservation Districts – The goals of the project are to improve nutrient management in the watershed, especially the application and utilization of nitrogen and phosphorus, reduce nutrient loads entering the watershed, maintain agricultural productivity, enhance wetlands, improve fish and wildlife habitat benefits, and improve water quality and biological health in streams.  This funding is available for landowners in portions of Chicot County in Arkansas and East Carroll and West Carroll parishes in Louisiana.

Wetland Reserve Enhancement Program project sign up ends Jan. 27, 20102

  • Wetlands Restoration in the Cache River Watershed, The Nature Conservancy – The goal of the project is to reduce nutrient and sediment loads entering the Mississippi River by managing non-point pollution in the Cache River.  Partners will work in three sub-watersheds of the Cache River in Clay, Greene, Lawrence, Craighead, Jackson, Poinsett, Woodruff, Cross, Prairie and Monroe counties.  The partners will focus on reforestation of riparian areas associated with croplands. 

Additional information about the MRBI projects, area maps and conservation practices, are available at www.ar.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/mrbi.html.

To locate the local field office, visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/main/national/contact/local.