NRCS Announces Water Quality Initiative in South Jersey Watersheds
March 12, 2013 - USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can provide funding and advice to agricultural producers to install conservation practices such as cover crops, filter strips and terraces. Farmers in the Upper Cohansey River, Upper Salem River and Upper Alloway Creek Watersheds in Salem and Cumberland Counties are eligible to apply for assistance from NRCS through the National Water Quality Initiative that is offered through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Applications received by April 19, 2013, will be considered for funding this year.
“We are pleased to offer this opportunity and continue the effort that was initiated here last year,” State Conservationist Carrie Mosley said. Through the help of local partnerships and state water quality agencies, NRCS in New Jersey selected these three watersheds that have documented phosphorus, bacteria, and sediment impairments, which may be caused by soil erosion, exposed soil, and lack of riparian buffers and filter strips. Reducing agricultural runoff by implementing conservation practices on agricultural lands can help reduce phosphorus, bacteria, and sediment inputs.
The goal of the initiative was to select watersheds with a high percent of agricultural land with known water quality issues,” Mosley said. “By focusing our efforts in these priority watersheds, we can have a positive impact on water quality.” The Upper Cohansey watershed has 68% of its land area in agriculture, the Upper Salem is 65% agriculture, and the Upper Alloway Creek has 41% of its land area in agriculture.
Application for the program can be made at the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Woodstown (51 Cheney Road, Suite 2, Woodstown, NJ 08098, ph: 856-769-1126 ext. 3) or in Vineland (Building 5, Suite A, 1318 South Main Road, Vineland NJ 08360 ph: 856-205-1225), Information about the program is available online at http://www.nj.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip/NWQI.html.