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News Release

NRCS Improves Impaired Watersheds in Washington State

Jeff Harlow, Asst. State Conservationist for Programs

Agricultural Producers located in priority watersheds will be able to participate

SPOKANE, WA (May 1, 2013) — State Conservationist Roylene Rides at the Door announced today additional funding for an initiative to improve water quality in selected watersheds in Washington State.

NRCS will make approximately $400,000 in assistance available this year to help farmers, ranchers and forestland owners install conservation practices that manage nutrients, pathogens and sediments. Funding comes through the agency’s National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI).

Eligible producers will receive assistance for installing conservation systems that may include practices such as waste storage facilities, field border, fencing, filter strips, riparian forest buffers, irrigation pipelines, heavy use protection and waste transfer.

“Overtime these conservation practices will benefit surface water quality and improve fish and shellfish habitat by reducing nutrients and pathogens in the surface waters of the Nooksack River and Bellingham Bay,” said Rides at the Door.

NRCS worked closely with partners to select two watersheds where on-farm conservation investments have the best chance to improve water quality. The two priority watersheds in Washington State selected for the NWQI are Fishtrap Creek and Wiser Lake Creek (Nooksack River).

Through this initiative, NRCS is also piloting its new Water Quality Index for Agricultural Runoff. The tool will help landowners determine how alternative conservation systems they are considering will impact water quality improvement. Additionally, state water quality agencies and other partners will do in-stream and watershed-level monitoring to track water quality improvements in many of the project watersheds.

NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year. All applications for funding consideration during this fiscal year must be received by May 31, 2013.

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For more information about NRCS’ programs, initiatives and services in Washington State, visit us online.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service helps America’s farmers and ranchers conserve the Nation’s soil, water, air and other natural resources. All programs are voluntary and offer science-based solutions that benefit both the landowner and the environment.


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