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News Release

NRCS Announces $973,022 Funding for Grand Prairie Watershed 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 $973,022 in financial assistance in FY 2012 available to agricultural producers for addressing water quality concerns in the Grand Prairie in a portion of Arkansas, Lonoke, Prairie and Monroe counties through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative (MRBI).

NRCS, in partnership with the White River Irrigation 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 174,564 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 by reducing nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment levels in the watershed; enhance wetlands; improve fish and wildlife habitat benefits; and maintain agricultural productivity by utilizing a combination of conservation practices.  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 approval of this project will provide desperately needed funds for addressing the most pressing water quality and water quantity issues facing our farmers in the Grand Prairie region,” said Dennis Carman, director of the White River Irrigation District. “These funds will make it possible for 400 farmers to implement water quality and water quantity measures impacting 200,000 acres over the next 4 years in the Grand Prairie region alone.”

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 Grand Prairie.  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   Lonoke County Lonoke Field Service Center 1300 North Center, Suite 8 Lonoke, AR  72086 (501) 676-5116, ext. 3   Monroe County Clarendon Field Service Center 605 Madison Street Clarendon, AR  72029 (870) 747-3431, ext. 3   Prairie County Hazen Field Service Center 1600 Industrial Street Hazen, AR 72064 (870) 255-3573, ext. 3