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News Release

USDA Mississippi River Basin Partnership Project Proposals Due March 19th

News Release - Indiana

United States Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service

6013 Lakeside Boulevard
Indianapolis, IN  46278

Indianapolis, IN, January 5, 2012 – The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced it is seeking project proposals that will improve water quality and the overall health of the Mississippi River Basin in 54 eligible watersheds in 13 states, including Indiana. 

Through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) NRCS is providing $37 million in new financial assistance to projects that support conservation efforts already underway on agricultural operations in the basin, improve the overall health of the Mississippi River and help reduce hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico.

“This initiative will help Indiana reduce the amount of nutrients in the Mississippi River system making their way to the Gulf of Mexico,” said NRCS State Conservationist Jane Hardisty.  “Working together with our partners we can deliver the environmental and economic benefits of cleaner water to Hoosiers and those who live downstream.  I encourage our partners and landowners to join us in this targeted effort.”

In Indiana, five focus area watersheds (8-digit hydrologic unit code (HUC)) have been selected with input from our partners to help improve water quality by reducing nitrogen and sediment levels in the watersheds of the Mississippi River Basin, as well as improve wildlife habitat and restore wetlands.  Eligible watersheds include:



Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC)


Vermillion (Upper Mississippi River sub-basin)






Upper East Fork White






Upper Wabash


Approved proposals will include conservation practices that prevent, control and trap nutrient runoff, improve wildlife habitat, restore wetlands, and keep agricultural operations productive. Examples of such practices are nutrient, residue and tillage management, crop rotation and tree planting.

A Request for Proposals, which includes a list of eligible watersheds and application addresses, appeared in the January 3, 2012, Federal Register and can be read and downloaded at Project proposals are due to NRCS by March 19, 2012.

In addition to funding for new projects, $55 million in additional financial assistance from conservation programs is being made available to support more than 95 previously approved MRBI projects in the 13 states.  Indiana has seven existing MRBI projects that will continue to be funded this year. 

Individual agricultural producers are not an eligible partner entity and may not submit proposals; however, they can participate in approved project areas later in 2012 by applying for direct program assistance through their local NRCS office.

For more information on MRBI, please visit and click on programs and services or contact your local USDA service center. 



Jane Hardisty, NRCS State Conservationist, 317.290.3200, ext. 301

Rebecca Fletcher, NRCS State Public Affairs Specialist, 317.290.3200, ext 325


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