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News Release

National Water Quality Initiative

NRCS Announces Conservation in Kansas

Agricultural producers located in priority watersheds will be able to participate

Two signup cutoff dates: Friday, May 18, 2012, and Friday, June 15, 2012

Salina, Kansas, May 9, 2012—State Conservationist Eric B. Banks announced the launch of a new committed to improving three impaired waterways in Kansas. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will manage the initiative funds available to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners in the selected watersheds. All applications for funding consideration, during this fiscal year, must be received either by the first application cutoff date, Friday, May 18, 2012, or the second application cutoff date, Friday, June 15, 2012.

“The Water Quality Initiative will further NRCS’ partnership efforts to improve water quality using voluntary actions on private lands,” Banks said.

“This initiative is a focused approach in areas facing significant natural resource challenges. It enhances the positive results of landscape conservation initiatives NRCS and its partners already have underway,” said Banks.

Through this effort, Kansas eligible producers in Headwaters Grasshopper Creek in the Delaware River Watershed in southcentral Brown County and small portions of Atchison and Jackson Counties; Town of Munjor—Big Creek in the Smoky River Watershed in southeast Ellis County; and City of Hesston—West Emma Creek in the Little Arkansas Watershed in portions of Harvey and McPherson Counties. The selected watersheds were identified with help from Kansas state agencies, partners, and the NRCS Kansas Technical Committee.

Using funds from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance to producers about installing management practices that use residue, crop rotation, irrigation, nutrient and/or conservation practices such as cover crops, filter strips, riparian forest buffer, and terraces in impaired watersheds 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 improve and protect 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.”

Kansas Watersheds Selected for National Watershed Quality Initiative (NWQI)

Headwaters Grasshopper Creek in the Delaware River Watershed in southcentral Brown County and small portions of Atchison and Jackson Counties—The land use acres for this watershed is cropland 14,133.8, grassland 4,838.1, miscellaneous 139.7, water 918.9, and woodland 2,034.6 or a total of 22,065. Impairment in this watershed is attributed to total phosphorus. Contact: Matt Sprick, NRCS Supervisory District Conservationist (SDC), USDA Service Center, Hiawatha, Kansas (KS) 785-742-3161; Bruce Yonke, NRCS DC, USDA Service Center, Holton, KS, 785-364-3329; Alan Larson, NRCS SDC, USDA Service Center, Effingham, KS, 913-833-5460

Town of Munjor—Big Creek Smoky River Watershed in southeast Ellis County—The land use acres for this watershed is cropland 26,193.8, grassland 10,489.9, miscellaneous 52.6, water 636.1, and woodland 32.6 or a total of 37,405. Impairment in this watershed is attributed to nitrate and total phosphorus. Contact: Brad Shank, NRCS SDC, USDA Service Center, Hays, KS, 785-628-3081

City of Hesston—West Emma Creek in the Little Arkansas Watershed in portions of McPherson and Harvey Counties—The land use acres for this watershed is cropland 21,771, grassland 1,685, miscellaneous 153.8, water 103.2, and woodland 1,219.1 or a total of 24,933. Impairment in this watershed is attributed to biological and total phosphorus. Contact: Baron Shively, NRCS DC, USDA Service Center, McPherson, KS, 620-241-1836; Gay Spencer, NRCS DC, USDA Service Center, Newton, KS, 316-283-0370

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Map - Kansas  (PDF; 520 KB)

NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year. Check with your local NRCS office to see if you are located in a selected watershed. After the cutoff dates, NRCS will notify all applicants of the results and begin developing contracts with selected applicants.

In Kansas, socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers will receive a higher payment rate for conservation practices related to the NWQI.

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 Kansas visit us online at www.ks.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/.