Grand Lake St. Marys Watershed to Receive $500,000 from USDA for Conservation to Improve Water Quality
COLUMBUS – February 19, 2013 – The Grand Lake St. Marys Watershed received national funding by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to address the critical water quality issues facing producers in the watershed. “Ohio has targeted $500,000 through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to get conservation on the ground in this watershed,” State Conservationist Terry Cosby announced. “There is a sizeable waiting list of producers with high quality EQIP applications in the watershed; those that result in the greatest conservation benefit will be selected for funding.”
Because of this funding, more farmers will have a chance to take advantage of the financial and technical assistance offered through EQIP. Targeted practices such as nutrient management, cover crops, manure storage facilities, filter strips, and other conservation measures will reduce the phosphorus entering the lake. Too much phosphorus in the lake has been identified as one of the primary factors causing the harmful algal blooms.
Since 2008, NRCS has provided $7 million in EQIP financial assistance to producers in the Grand Lake St. Marys Watershed to put conservation measures in place and keep nutrients out of the water. Several partners, including the county Soil and Water Conservation Districts, have dedicated staff and other resources to focus on improving agricultural practices in the watershed that may affect water quality. The collaborative approach to address the water quality issues by the Federal, State, and local government agencies has allowed for the leveraging of funds, which increases how far the dollars can go to improve the lake.
Applications are being accepted until Friday, March 15, 2013, at the local NRCS offices in Mercer and Auglaize Counties.