Agricultural Producers located in priority watersheds will be able to participate
Nashville, Tennessee, May 10, 2012 — State Conservationist Kevin Brown announced the launch of a new National Water Quality Initiative committed to improving three impaired waterways in Tennessee. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will manage the initiative by making funds available to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in the selected watersheds.
The Water Quality Initiative will further NRCS’ partnership efforts to improve water quality using voluntary actions on private lands,” Brown said. “We have been working with producers across the state to improve water quality; this initiative allows for a focused approach in areas facing significant natural resource challenges. It bolsters the positive results of landscape conservation initiatives NRCS and its partners already have underway.”
Through this effort, eligible producers in the Caney Creek Watershed, a tributary of the Duck River in Marshall and Williamson Counties; Fork Creek Watershed, a tributary of the Little Tennessee River Basin in Monroe and Loudon Counties; and Holly Fork Creek, a tributary of Lower Kentucky Reservoir in Henry County will invest in voluntary conservation actions to help provide cleaner water for their neighbors and communities. The selected watersheds were identified with help from state agencies, partners, and the NRCS State Technical Committee. Using funds from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, NRCS will provide funding and advise to producers to install conservation practices such as cover crops, filter strips and terraces in watersheds with impairments where the federal investment can make a difference to improve water quality.
“American farmers are good stewards of the environment, especially when they have the tools they need to protect or improve fish and wildlife habitat and water quality,” said NRCS Chief Dave White. “We look forward to collaborating with producers in key watersheds to help them have a positive impact on streams with impaired water quality.”
Each of Tennessee’s three priority watersheds have a significant amount of agriculture production. The 18,956 acre Caney Creek watershed is 44% agricultural land and is impaired by nutrients and sediment. The 21,226 acre Holly Fork Creek watershed is approximately 33% agricultural land with predominantly Lexington soil, a highly erosive silt-loam. Agriculture production includes corn and soybean row crop production, cow/calf operations, and swine operations. Fork Creek watershed drains into the Tellico Reservoir, a highly active recreation area, and contains impairments due to pathogen, sediment, and nitrate pollution. Approximately 96% of the watershed is agriculture and forested land.
NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year. Remember to check with your local NRCS office to see if you are located in a selected watershed. All applications for funding consideration, during this fiscal year, must be received by June 15, 2012. This summer, NRCS will notify all applicants of the results and begin developing contracts with selected applicants.
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. For more information about NRCS’ programs, initiatives and services in Tennessee, visit us online at www.tn.nrcs.usda.gov.
Tennessee's three priority watersheds for the NWQI include Holly Fork Creek, Caney Creek and Fork Creek.
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