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News Release

NRCS Awards 2012 Funding for Brook Trout Restoration Projects

 

Contact: Wade Biddix, NRCS, (804) 287-1675 / Seth Coffman, TU, (430) 459-8163

Richmond, March 2, 2012 – The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has approved $132,000 to continue successful partnership activities with Trout Unlimited (TU) to restore native brook trout habitat in priority springs within the Shenandoah Valley.

Authorized through the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI), these funds are available to help landowners in Augusta, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Frederick counties install conservation practices to help lower water temperatures and reduce stream sedimentation. You can receive assistance for fencing, tree and shrub planting, watering systems, and other measures to improve water quality on your farm.

If you own land in one of the following watersheds, you are eligible to apply for this funding:  Briery Branch, Mossy Creek, Cedar Creek (Meadowbrook or Paddy Run), or Redbud Run. Though program signup is continuous, deadlines for upcoming ranking periods are March 30, April 30, and May 31, 2012Special emphasis will be given to beginning farmers, limited resource farmers and socially disadvantaged farmers.

Earlier projects in these areas are already improving trout spawning grounds and food sources. In just one year, a stream restoration project in Rockingham County significantly cleared silt and sand from the stream bottom to help bring back fish habitat and insect populations. TU’s Shenandoah Coordinator, Seth Coffman, expects to see more varieties of insects in the stream this year. As the trees and shrubs in the buffer grow, they will also shade the stream to lower water temperatures.   

“Thanks to the great work of Trout Unlimited and NRCS field staff, we’ve gotten a very positive response from producers who have seen the good work we’ve been doing,” says NRCS State Conservationist Jack Bricker. “As we begin our third year of this partnership project, we look forward to increased participation from landowners who want to install similar conservation practices on their land.”

NRCS field staff will continue working with Coffman to provide technical and financial assistance for implementing these practices and evaluating their effectiveness. To learn more about CCPI for trout restoration, contact your local NRCS office in Harrisonburg, Strasburg or Verona or visit the NRCS website at www.va.nrcs.usda.gov.