USDA Advances Water Quality Conservation Across the U.S.
Agricultural producers located in selected watersheds will be able to participate
WASHINGTON, May 8, 2012 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the launch of a new National Water Quality Initiative committed to improving one to seven impaired watersheds in every U.S. state and territory. The 157 selected watersheds were identified with assistance from state agencies, key partners, and State Technical Committees. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will make available at least $33 million in financial and technical assistance to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners this year to implement conservation practices to help provide cleaner water for their neighbors and communities.
“The National Water Quality Initiative signifies a bold step by USDA to improve water quality in some very challenging watersheds,” Vilsack said. “American farmers are good stewards of the environment, and this initiative provides them with additional tools to protect and improve fish and wildlife habitat and water quality.”
Using funds from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance to producers for implementing conservation practices such as cover crops, nutrient management, filter strips and terraces.
To deliver the initiative, NRCS worked in collaboration with local partners and state conservation and water quality agencies to identify watersheds where on-farm investments have the best chance to improve water quality. NRCS also will work with state and federal partners, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Geological Survey, to assess results over the long term.
All eligible applications must be submitted by June 15, 2012 in order to be considered for this fiscal year's funding opportunity. However, NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year.
Since 1935, NRCS’s nationwide conservation delivery system works with private landowners to put conservation on the ground based on specific, local conservation needs, while accommodating state and national interests.