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News Release

NRCS offers $1.2M in Financial Assistance to Colorado Landowners to Help Impaired Watersheds

Contact: Petra Barnes Walker  
State Public Information Officer  
Office Number: 720-544-2808  
Fax Number: 720-544-2965  
E-Mail:  Petra.Barneswalker@co.usda.gov 

For Immediate Release 

NRCS offers $1.2M in Financial Assistance to Colorado Landowners to Help Impaired Watersheds
Agricultural Producers located in priority watersheds may be eligible to participate  June 17, 2013

 Denver - Acting State Conservationist for Colorado Randy Randall recently announced additional funding for the agency’s National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI), an effort aimed at improving water quality in selected watersheds within the state. NRCS in Colorado will make $1.2 million in assistance available this year to help farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners install conservation practices that manage nutrients, pathogens, and sediments. NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year. All applications for funding consideration during this fiscal year must be received by July 19, 2013.

This is the second year Colorado has participated in this national effort,” states Randy Randall. “Water quality is a critical issue particularly within the west. This initiative provides an opportunity for agricultural producers to use good stewardship of the land to protect water quality and showcase the efforts of the agricultural community to ‘do their part’ and address water quality concerns.”

Eligible producers will receive technical as well as financial assistance for installing conservation systems that may include practices such as nutrient management, cover crops, conservation cropping systems, filter strips, terraces, and in some cases edge-of-field water quality monitoring.

NRCS worked closely with natural resource partners to strategically identify and select priority watersheds within each participating state. In Colorado, for the 2013 NWQI effort, three areas were identified including the Fruit Growers Reservoir and Upper Grape Creek of which encompasses the DeWeese Reservoir watersheds; both were also priority areas within the 2012 NWQ Initiative yet have been expanded to better address the areas where conservation practices would potentially have a beneficial impact on impaired waters. Colorado’s third priority area encompasses the City of Fort Collins – Cache la Poudre River Watershed.

This goals surrounding this initiative are vital to the sustainability of the quality of life we all enjoy, not only in Colorado, but around the country so it was important to build and improve upon the strides made last year,” states Jason Peel, NRCS Irrigation Water Management Specialist, Denver, CO. “The watershed boundaries selected for the 2012 NWQ Initiative were small and although the practices implemented will net desired results, we now know that due to the complexities of Colorado’s water system those boundaries needed to be expanded, so adjustments were made while an additional watershed was identified to help address specific water quality and source water protection issues resulting from the High Park Fire.”

In addition to the environmental benefits to the NWQI efforts, through this Initiative, NRCS is also piloting its new Water Quality Index for Agricultural Runoff. The tool will help landowners determine how alternative conservation systems they are considering will impact water quality improvement. Additionally, state water quality agencies and other partners will do in-stream and watershed-level monitoring to track water quality improvements in many of the priority project watersheds.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service helps America’s farmers and ranchers conserve the Nation’s soil, water, air and other natural resources. All programs are voluntary and offer science-based solutions that benefit both the landowner and the environment.
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For more information about the NWQ Initiative and other NRCS’ programs, activities, and services in Colorado please visit us online at www.co.nrcs.usda.gov. For detailed eligibility requirements and information about NWQI in Delta County please call 970-874-5726, Custer County please call 719-783-2481, and Larimer County please call 970-295-5650.

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