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News Release

NRCS Announces $222,900 Funding for Middle Cache River Watershed Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative

Producers Have Until July 18, 2012, to Submit Applications

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., January 19, 2012 – USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Dave White today announced $222,900 in financial assistance available in FY 2012 to agricultural producers for addressing water quality concerns in the Middle Cache River Watershed in portions of Craighead, Jackson, Poinsett and Woodruff counties through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative (MRBI).

NRCS, in partnership with the Jackson County Conservation District, has received funding for the initiative.  Producers have until July 18, 2012, to submit applications to receive financial assistance to implement conservation practices.  The project area covers 121,583 acres.

“We have recognized that targeting money to a specific watershed is more effective than just ‘random acts of conservation’.  One of the ways we have done this is through special initiatives within the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).  MRBI targets specific watersheds for specific water quality and quantity practices,” said Mike Sullivan, NRCS state conservationist. “Nine projects were selected in Arkansas through the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative portion of MRBI.  Funding for the nine new projects will total approximately $49.7 million over the next four years.”

“Working together through the Mississippi River Basin Initiative, we are helping private landowners implement complete conservation systems on their land that help them maintain productivity; avoid, control, and trap sediments and nutrients; improve water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat,” Sullivan said. 

The goals of the project are to improve water quality, reduce sediment and nutrient loads entering the watershed and the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge, enhance wetlands, improve fish and wildlife habitat benefits.  Water quantity will be enhanced through conservation practices in the project area and reduce ground water mining of the aquifer.

“With the amount of siltation from other areas contributing to the Cache Watershed, we need to improve water quality by reducing as much silt as possible.  This can be done by applying conservation practices through the 2012 Middle Cache River MRBI project,” said Kenny Clark, Jackson County Conservation District.

Funding will be available to eligible landowners through the EQIP.  NRCS will provide financial assistance for a variety of conservation practices for the purpose of reducing the amount of nutrient runoff and soil erosion associated with agricultural production.  Land and producer eligibility, adjusted gross income, and all other program criteria for participation must be met to participate in this initiative.  Agricultural lands are eligible for enrollment in the initiative.

NRCS and associated conservation partners will deliver this program collaboratively.  For more information about the project, conservation practices approved, collaborating partners and an area map, visit Middle Cache River Watershed.  Applications may be obtained and filed with the Natural Resources Conservation Service at:

Craighead County Jonesboro Field Service Center 3407 S. Caraway Rd., Suite 1 Jonesboro, AR  72402 (870) 972-4671, ext. 3   Jackson County                         Newport Field Service Center 2115 Malcolm Newport, AR  72112 (870) 523-8986, ext. 3
  Poinsett County Harrisburg Field Service Center 505 Brooks Ave. Harrisburg, AR  72432 (870) 578-2444, ext. 3   Woodruff County Augusta Field Service Center 1274 Hwy. 64 E Augusta, AR  72006 (870) 347-2593, ext. 3