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Minnesota NRCS + EQIP Protecting public drinking water supplies

Source Water Protection (SWP) Initiative

Minnesota NRCS has a new funding and technical assistance opportunity available in Minnesota, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Source Water Protection (SWP) Initiative. The goal of the Minnesota NRCS EQIP SWP Initiative is to protect and improve the quality of Minnesota’s vulnerable drinking water (MAP) resources used by public water suppliers through the promotion and adoption of agricultural best management practices (BMPs). Surface Water Protection Area Priority (A&B) (MAP)

“It is exciting to see new opportunities to target and promote conservation, what could be more important than helping landowners implement practices that help them protect their local community’s source of drinking water? As a result, a separate EQIP initiative has been developed to allow for financial assistance of conservation practices located in the priority areas,” said Minnesota NRCS state conservationist Don Baloun. “The EQIP SWP Initiative has been allocated $250,000 for FY 2014.”

The EQIP SWP Initiative is a targeted promotion of conservation practices that help protect or improve the quality of surface water and groundwater used as public drinking water source. These conservation practices will help reduce or minimize the level of contaminant found in drinking water, and reduce the potential risk of a health related contaminant from entering a drinking water source. Possible conservation practices include, but are not limited to: Conservation Cover; Cover Crop; Nutrient Management and Pest Management.

“The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is excited to be a partner in the development of this EQIP initiative to promote agricultural management practices that help protect vulnerable drinking water resources. This initiative can help increase awareness on how to protect not only a community’s source of drinking water, but also groundwater that supplies drinking water on a producer’s own farm. Agriculture conservation practices can protect both surface water and the groundwater that so many of us drink” said Randy Ellingboe, Manager, and Drinking Water Protection Section for the Minnesota Department of Health.

“Protecting our drinking water supplies is one of the most important things we do here in Minnesota. It is nice to see funds and technical assistance being targeted for protecting these precious resources,” said Ruth Hubbard, Executive Director, and Minnesota Rural Water Association.

EQIP is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through contracts up to a maximum term of ten years in length. These contracts provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland. In addition, a purpose of EQIP is to help producers meet Federal, State, Tribal and local environmental regulations.

For more information about EQIP SWP please contact your local USDA Service Center.