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News Release

NRCS Announces National Water Quality Initiative Conservation in Indiana

News Release - Indiana

United States Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service

6013 Lakeside Boulevard
Indianapolis, IN  46278
www.in.nrcs.usda.gov

Indianapolis, IN May 8, 2012 — Jane Hardisty announced the launch of a new National Water Quality Initiative committed to improving three impaired waterways in Indiana. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will manage the initiative by making funds available to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in the selected watersheds.

“The Water Quality Initiative will further NRCS’ partnership efforts to improve water quality using voluntary actions on private working lands,” Hardisty said. “This initiative is a focused approach in areas facing significant natural resource challenges. It strengthens the positive results of landscape conservation initiatives NRCS and its partners already have underway.” 

Through this effort, eligible producers in Silver Creek, Ell Creek or Eagle Creek Reservoir watersheds will invest in voluntary conservation actions to help provide cleaner water for their neighbors and communities. The selected watersheds were identified with help from state agencies, partners, and the NRCS State Technical Committee.

Using funds from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, NRCS will provide funding and advise to producers to install conservation practices such as cover crops, no-till, filter strips, and terraces in watersheds with impairments where the federal investment can make a difference to improve 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.”

The Silver Creek watershed is located within the larger Eel watershed and lies within portions of Fulton, Kosciusko, Miami, and Wabash counties in northeastern Indiana. The Silver Creek watershed has just over 20,000 acres within the watershed, with roughly 14,900 acres as agricultural land. Approximately forty-two percent of the agricultural land within the watershed boundaries is categorized as “high to moderately high runoff acres.” Silver Creek currently has two water bodies listed on the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s 303(d) impaired water body list due to nutrient loading.

The Ell Creek watershed is located within the larger Patoka watershed and lies solely within Dubois County in southwestern Indiana. The Ell Creek watershed has just over 11,500 acres within the watershed, with roughly 7,550 acres as agricultural land.  Approximately eighty-one percent of the agricultural land within the watershed boundaries is categorized as “high to moderately high runoff acres.” Ell Creek currently has one water body listed on the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s 303(d) impaired water body list due to pollution from nutrients.

The Eagle Creek Reservoir – Eagle Creek watershed is located within the larger Upper White River watershed and lies within portions of Boone, Hendricks and Marion counties in central Indiana. The Eagle Creek Reservoir - Eagle Creek watershed has just over 12,600 acres within the watershed, with roughly 5,900 acres as agricultural land. Approximately fifty-one percent of the agricultural land within the watershed boundaries is categorized as “high to moderately high runoff acres.” Eagle Creek Reservoir-Eagle Creek currently has one water body listed on the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s 303(d) impaired water body list due to pollution from nutrients.

NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year. Remember to check with your local NRCS office www.in.nrcs.usda.gov/contact/directory/field_offices.html to see if you are located in a selected watershed. All applications for funding consideration, during this fiscal year, must be received by June 15, 2012. This summer, NRCS will notify all applicants of the results and begin developing contracts with selected applicants.

Since 1935, NRCS’s 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 NRCS’ programs, initiatives and services in Indiana, visit us online at www.in.usda.gov.  

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Contacts:
Jane Hardisty, NRCS State Conservationist, 317-295-5801
Teresah Caire, Assistant State Conservationist, 317-295-5820
Rebecca Fletcher, State Public Affairs Specialist, 317-295-5825

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