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News Release

NRCS Improves Impaired Watersheds in Maryland

Agricultural Producers located in the Catoctin Creek Watershed will be able to participate

Annapolis Md., June 16, 2014 — State Conservationist Jon Hall today announced additional funding for an initiative to improve water quality in selected watersheds in Maryland. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will make $361,000 in assistance available this year to help farmers and forestland owners install conservation practices that manage nutrients, pathogens and sediments. Funding comes through the agency’s National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI).

Now in its third year, NWQI builds on efforts to target high-impact conservation in the Catoctin Creek Watershed. Area producers showed great interest in the opportunity to sign up for assistance for installing conservation systems that may include practices such as nutrient management, filter strips, stream fencing, and waste storage facilities in the past. NRCS anticipates interest will be just as high this year.

“This targeted approach provides a way to accelerate voluntary, private lands conservation investments to improve water quality and to focus water quality monitoring and assessment funds where they are most needed,” Tom Morgart, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, said. “We look forward to collaborating with producers in the Catoctin Creek Watershed to help them meet their environmental goals and improve local water quality. ”

NRCS worked closely with partners to select the priority watersheds.  State agencies, key partners and technical experts chose the Catoctin Creek Watershed, where on-farm conservation investments have the best chance to improve water quality. 

The Catoctin Creek Watershed encompasses the southwestern portion of Frederick County and is framed by Catoctin Mountain on the east and South Mountain on the west. The Watershed drains an area of 120 square miles, which includes areas of forested mountain slopes, agricultural valleys, and small towns. The area’s waters are impaired by sediments, nutrients, impacts to biological communities, and fecal coliform. The land use distribution in the watershed is approximately 43% agricultural, 42% forest/herbaceous and 15% urban, with agricultural land mostly planted in row crops and pasture.

NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year. All applications for funding consideration during this fiscal year must be received by July 18, 2014.

For more information about NRCS’ programs, initiatives and services in Maryland, visit us online at www.md.nrcs.usda.gov.