Vermont Americas Great Outdoors Information 2013
From parks and rivers to farmlands and forests, America's great outdoors fuel our national spirit of adventure and independence and help power our economy. Our lands and waters also are where our families go to unwind, to fish, hike, and hunt, and to spend valuable time together.
Today, however, much of America's great outdoors is under intense pressure. Open lands, farmlands and woodlands are disappearing, waterways are polluted, and a changing climate is threatening natural systems. That is why President Obama established the America's Great Outdoors Initiative in April 2010, to work with the American people to develop a 21st century conservation and recreation agenda.
More information about the AGO Initiative can be found on the national America's Great Outdoors website.
Vermont AGO Critical Source Area Project 2013
Conservation Outreach Partners: Please click here for supporting documentation for use with the AGO/CSA Initiative
Through the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative (AGO), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering financial and technical assistance to farmers located in the Missisquoi Bay Basin. One of AGO’s major goals is to conserve rural working farms and forests through partnerships and incentives. Through land conservation and improvement of water quality, Americans will be more connected to their environment.
The Missisquoi Bay Basin has been selected as a prioritized watershed based on the availability of a complex computer modeling project that has identified Critical Source Areas (CSAs) of phosphorus to Missisquoi Bay. Areas shown in this model as potential CSAs were classified primarily by their soils, landscape features, proximity and connectivity to streams, and the land use practices that are in place.
Since this information is based on a model, there is a potential for error in the identification of CSAs. The CSA information is very useful for knowing what properties have a high likelihood of excess phosphorus in the soil, and an apparently easy route for phosphorus to reach a tributary stream. This report helps to detect Critical Areas so producers know where and how to use best management practices (BMPs) to protect water quality.
At NRCS, this study helps to guide federal funding to the areas that will bring the biggest results for the investment. NRCS will help producers implement conservation land management practices through a systems approach to control and trap nutrient and manure runoff. Qualified producers will receive assistance for installing conservation practices such as cover crops, filter strips and grassed waterways.
For more information on the Critical Source Area project in the Missisquoi Bay Basin, you are encouraged to look at the Lake Champlain Basin Program's website: www.lcpb.org
The Missisquoi Bay Basin
The Missisquoi Bay Basin is a 460,000 acre drainage area in northern Franklin and Orleans counties of Vermont. It is dominated by forestland, agricultural land, and small rural towns. The entire Basin drains to Missisquoi Bay, which has significant water quality concerns associated with nutrient loading and blue-green algae blooms.
The Rock River Watershed is a 36,000 acre watershed within the Missisquoi Bay Basin that has been identified for additional conservation funding under the National Water Quality Initiative. Producers in the Rock River watershed are encouraged to talk with the St. Albans Field Office for information on how to apply for both special funding opportunities.
Conservation Funding and Practices
NRCS conservation professionals and their partners will provide technical assistance to determine which conservation actions on identified CSA’s will provide the best results to improve water quality. Conservation tillage, cover crops, and filter strips are just some of the practices being offered as part of the project. To help install these conservation practices, financial assistance to share in the cost of these conservation practices is available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). NRCS and their partners will pay for up to 90 or 100% of the anticipated practice cost.
Practices offered through the AGO CSA Initiative:
Conservation Crop Rotation
Critical Area Planting
Forage and Biomass Planting
Grade Stabilization Structure
Lined Waterway or Outlet
Reduced Tillage-Mulch Till
Reduced Tillage-No Till
Riparian Forest Buffer
Waste Recycling (Manure Injection or Aeration)
To be eligible for AGO you need to meet eligibility criteria for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Information about EQIP eligibility, including application information, can be found on the Vermont NRCS EQIP website.
Electronic application filing is available through the Electronic Government website.
For additional local information or to apply, contact your Local NRCS Office.
VT NRCS Office Locations and Contact Information
Corey Brink, Franklin County District Conservationist
Phone: 802-524-6504 ext 115
David Blodgett, Orleans County District Conservationist
Phone 802-334-6090 ext. 25
Heather Wetzstein, Resource Conservationist
Phone: 802-951-6796 x 223
Kip Potter, Environmental Specialist
Phone: 802-951-6796 x 236