Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI)
To improve the health of the Mississippi River Basin, including water quality and wildlife habitat, the Natural Resources Conservation Service is developing the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI). Through this new Initiative, NRCS and its partners will help producers in selected watersheds in the Mississippi River Basin voluntarily implement conservation practices that avoid, control, and trap nutrient runoff; improve wildlife habitat; and maintain agricultural productivity.
These improvements will be accomplished through a conservation systems approach to manage and optimize nitrogen and phosphorous within fields to minimize runoff and reduce downstream nutrient loading. NRCS will provide producers assistance with a system of practices that will control soil erosion, improve soil quality, and provide wildlife habitat while managing runoff and drainage water for improved water quality.
The Initiative builds on the past efforts of producers, NRCS, partners, and other State and Federal agencies in the 13-State Initiative area to address nutrient loading in the Mississippi River Basin. Nutrient loading contributes to both local water quality problems and the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico. The 12 participating States are Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
NRCS offers this Initiative through fiscal year 2014, dedicating at least $80 million in each fiscal year. This is in addition to the agency's regular program funding in the 13 Initiative States and funding by other Federal agencies, States, and partners and the contributions of producers.
NRCS accepts and processes MRBI applications on a continuous basis. However, NRCS sets dates to prioritize applications as funding allows. The first batching and ranking of applications for fiscal year 2014 is Oct. 4, 2013. The second cutof date for batching and ranking applications is Feb. 21, 2014. Contact your local NRCS office for more details.