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Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI)

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Interested agricultural producers should contact their Local USDA NRCS Office.

Overview

To improve the health of the Mississippi River Basin, including water quality and wildlife habitat, the Natural Resources Conservation Service has developed the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI). Through this initiative, NRCS and its partners 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.

Approved MRBI Watersheds in Louisiana

Boeuf-Tensas Basin (08050001)

Below is a list of the approved 12-digit HUCs for the MRBI Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP):

  • Lower Bayou Galion (080500011104)
  • Upper Little Bayou Boeuf (080500011201)
  • Middle Little Bayou Boeuf (080500011202)
  • Lower Little Bayou Boeuf (080500011203)
  • Gourd Bayou (080500011306)
  • Youngs Bayou-Petticoat Bayou (080500011307)
  • Halfway Bayou-Bayou Lafourche (080500011401)
Click on maps for full screen version in PDF format which requires Adobe Acrobat.
Map of selected Louisiana MRBI Watersheds (PDF; 2.3 MB)

Map of selected Louisiana MRBI Watersheds (PDF; 2.3 MB)

The following documents require Adobe Acrobat.


USDA Mississippi River Basin Partnership Project Proposals Due March 19, 2012

Projects Would Improve Water Quality and Conserve Wetland Habitat on Farms in 13 States

ALEXANDRIA, January 6, 2012 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Dave White announced on Thursday that proposals for conservation projects addressing water quality and wetland conservation in the Mississippi River Basin are due to NRCS by March 19, 2012. Accepted projects would 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 is an outstanding opportunity for conservation-minded farmers to do even more to protect and improve one of America's most valuable resources," White said. "Working together, we can deliver more of the environmental and economic benefits of cleaner water to everyone who relies on the food, fiber and fuel produced by landowners in the Mississippi River Basin."

Through this request for proposals, NRCS is providing up to $37 million in new financial assistance through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) for projects in 54 priority watersheds in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

These projects will compliment actions to be carried out through the new Gulf of Mexico Initiative, an effort that focuses up to $50 million in conservation assistance over three years to farmers and ranchers in priority areas along seven major rivers that drain into the Gulf.

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.

Louisiana Watersheds Named in MRBIMap of Louisiana MRBI Watersheds (PDF; 1.5 MB)
Click on map for full screen version in PDF format which requires Adobe Acrobat.


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 http://federalregister.gov/a/2011-33692.

This call for project proposals includes two new priority watersheds in Louisiana. The new watersheds will make the land between Mississippi River levees eligible for conservation easements in an area extending from southern Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico. The new watersheds are the Lower Mississippi-Natchez (HUC 08060100) and the Lower Mississippi-Baton Rouge (HUC 08070100). These watersheds start just south of the Arkansas border and terminate south of Baton Rouge. The two new watersheds will only be eligible for the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Program.

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.

Federally-recognized Indian tribes, state and local units of governments, farmer cooperatives, producer associations, institutions of higher education and other nongovernmental organizations are encouraged to apply. For more information on the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative, visit the National MRBI Web Page or contact your local Louisiana USDA Service Center.

NRCS MRBI Fiscal Year Funding
(in millions of dollars)

Program 2010 2011 2012 2013
CCPI 50 50 50 50
WREP 25 25 25 25
CIG 5 5 5 5
Totals 80 80 80 80

Special MRBI-CCPI Projects in Northeast Louisiana

Two approved projects for Northeast Louisiana cross state lines and will be implemented in Arkansas as well as Louisiana. The approved projects are part of NRCS’ Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) - Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI). MRBI-CCPI projects are voluntary and provide financial and technical assistance to eligible participants to address water quality concerns in selected watersheds. The Natural Resources Conservation Service, in partnership with the Louisiana Association of Conservation Districts and Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts, will be working in the Bayou Boeuf and Lower Bayou Macon Watersheds.

  • The Bayou Boeuf Watershed MRBI-CCPI project area includes portions of Morehouse Parish and West Carroll Parish in Louisiana and portions of Ashley County and Chicot County in Arkansas.
  • The Lower Bayou Macon Watershed MRBI-CCPI project area includes portions of West Carroll Parish and East Carroll Parish in Louisiana and Chico County in Arkansas.

Funding for eligible producers for these projects will be through three of NRCS’ most popular conservation programs: the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), and Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP).

Links to Programs and Initiatives Included in MRBI...

Conservation Stewardship Program
Environmental Quality Incentives Program
Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program
Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program
National MRBI Web Page