Sign Up Now for 2012 Copper Creek Conservation Funding
Richmond, February 29, 2012 – The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is partnering with the FishAmerica Foundation to provide $800,458 to help Scott and Russell County landowners in the Copper Creek Watershed apply practices to reduce water quality impacts from grazing lands and animals in confinement.
“It is the fourth award in four years under the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative, bringing USDA’s contributions in the watershed to more than $2.9 million,” says NRCS State Conservationist Jack Bricker. “Since 2009, NRCS has developed 46 contracts on 3,907 acres totaling $2,108,830. Landowners have received over $1,026,326 in cost share to date as a result of these contracts.”
Signup for this program is continuous with ranking of applications occurring on a periodic basis until all funds are expended. Deadlines for three ranking periods in 2012 have been set for March 30, April 30 and May 31st.
Landowners can receive payments for practices that benefit water quality, soil conservation, and aquatic species recovery. A top priority for financial assistance will be to fence livestock out of streams and establish forested riparian buffers. Tree planting in riparian corridors and karst areas will help improve the health of streams so they provide better habitat for aquatic species and wildlife.
Local NRCS District Conservationist Wess Stanley says, “We will be using these funds to build on the work begun in 2009. Spring tree plantings along waterways are scheduled and fencing has been installed to limit livestock access to these water bodies. Farmers are extremely interested in rotational grazing, so that will be a focus in 2012, along with waste storage and winter feeding concerns.”
The Copper Creek Watershed covers more than 85,000 acres in Russell and Scott counties. A tributary of Virginia’s Upper Tennessee River Basin (UTRB), Copper Creek flows into the Clinch River between Clinchport and Speers Ferry. The UTRB contains critical habitat for eight aquatic species and 90 Federal species of concern.
Interested producers in the Copper Creek Watershed can call Wess Stanley at (276) 889-4650, ext. 109 (Russell County), or Buddy Gilmer at (276) 386-9241, ext. 109 (Scott County) or visit the local USDA Service Center in Lebanon or Gate City to sign up and begin the conservation planning process. USDA. General program information is also available on the NRCS Virginia website at www.va.nrcs.usda.gov.