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News Release

NRCS Announces $632,286 Funding for Bayou Meto (Arkansas County) Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative

 

Producers Have Until July 18, 2012, to Submit Applications

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., June 19, 2012 – USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Dave White today announced $632,286 in financial assistance available in FY 2012 to agricultural producers for addressing water quality concerns in Bayou Meto Watershed in portions of Arkansas, Jefferson and Lonoke counties through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative (MRBI).

NRCS, in partnership with Arkansas 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 238,106 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, enhance wetlands, improve fish and wildlife habitat benefits, and improve the biological health of the streams.  Water quality and water quantity will be enhanced through conservation practices in the project area to improve water quality and reduce ground water mining of the aquifer.

“The Arkansas County Conservation District is thrilled to receive approval for the Bayou Meto Watershed MRBI Project. This project has been developed to address the primary resource concerns of water quality in the Bayou Meto Watershed with secondary resource concerns that include water quantity, soil erosion, wildlife and stream habitat,” said Sloan Hampton, chairman of the Arkansas County Conservation District. “This funding will enable farmers to adapt a conservation systems approach in selecting practices to be installed on their farms.  We feel very fortunate to have one of our projects chosen.”

Funding will be available to eligible landowners through 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 Bayou Meto (Arkansas County).  Applications may be obtained and filed with the Natural Resources Conservation Service at:

  • Arkansas County DeWitt Field Service Center 1015 West Second Street DeWitt, AR  72042 (870) 946-3331, ext. 3  
  • Jefferson County Pine Bluff Field Service Center Federal Building, Room 2603 100 East 8th Avenue Pine Bluff, AR  71601 (870) 534-3200, ext. 3  
  • Lonoke County Lonoke Field Service Center 1300 North Center, Suite 8 Lonoke, AR  72086 (501) 676-5116, ext. 3