Paige Buck, State Public Affairs Specialist
NRCS Announces Water Quality Conservation in 3 Illinois Watersheds
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 8, 2012
Agricultural Producers located in priority watersheds will be able to participate
Champaign, IL, May 8, 2012 — State Conservationist Ivan Dozier announced the launch of a new Water Quality Initiative committed to improving three impaired watersheds in Illinois. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will manage the initiative by making financial assistance available to farmers and forest landowners in the priority watersheds. “With the help of our partners, we’ve selected three watersheds that are impaired but well positioned and ready to make critical changes that will significantly improve water quality,” Dozier explained.
Douglas Creek Watershed, 14,300 acres in St. Clair County
Crooked Creek-Bon Pas Watershed, 33,266 acres in parts of Richland, Wabash, Edwards, & Lawrence Counties
Lake Vermilion Watershed, 17,656 acres in Vermilion County
Through this effort, eligible producers can invest in voluntary conservation practices to help provide cleaner water for their neighbors and communities. Using funds from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance to producers for implementing conservation practices such as cover crops, filter strips and nutrient management plans in watersheds with impairments where focused federal investments can make a difference in improving water quality.
“American farmers are good stewards of the environment, especially when they have the tools they need to protect or improve fish and wildlife habitat and water quality,” said NRCS Chief Dave White. “We look forward to collaborating with producers in key watersheds to help them have a positive impact on streams with impaired water quality.”
All three Illinois watershed areas are of modest size and include diverse landscapes and land uses. Watersheds include working farmland, grazing land, private homes, and community areas used by the public for businesses, tourism, and other land uses. The Illinois sites cover more than 65,000 acres and include a variety of valuable water sources and creeks, wildlife and aquatic species, trees and forested areas, as well as soil and other natural resources. All three sites have been identified as impaired with degraded water quality issues in need of attention.
“These watersheds suffer from water quality problems that can impact drinking water supplies, flooding and erosion damage, and degraded wildlife health and habitat populations,” Dozier said, “but all these issues can be addressed with installation of simple conservation practices and new land management techniques.”
Many other local environmental partners and organizations, including Prairie Rivers Network, Southwestern Illinois RC&D, the City of Danville, county SWCD teams and local work groups, Pheasants Forever and others, are eager to help get the word out to interested landowners.
NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year. There will be one ranking period for the Water Quality Initiative on June 15, 2012. NRCS will rank all submitted proposals for funding consideration. This summer, NRCS will notify all applicants of the results of the rankings and begin developing contracts with selected applicants.
Since 1935, NRCS’ nationwide conservation delivery system works with private landowners to put conservation on the ground based on specific, local conservation needs, while accommodating state and national interests. For more information about the Water Quality Initiative and NRCS’ programs, initiatives and services in Illinois, visit us online at www.il.nrcs.usda.gov.
NOTE: Click on the watershed to view larger map of each watershed.
Caption: Location of Illinois watersheds eligible for USDA-NRCS Water Quality Initiative Fiscal Year 2012. Farmers with land in these areas who are interested in applying for special EQIP funds should contact their local NRCS office or visit www.il.nrcs.usda.gov to see detailed maps and watershed boundaries.
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