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News Release

Conservation Funding Focuses on Lake Michigan and Lower Fox River

MADISON, June 17, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced conservation funds available to farmers in several Lake Michigan watersheds. The funds are available to help farmers incorporate conservation activities to improve water quality and reduce phosphorus reaching the Great Lakes.  

In Wisconsin, farmers in the Lower Fox River, Manitowoc/Sheboygan, and the Milwaukee River watersheds may be eligible for these special funds to help clean up the Great Lakes (see map ).  

“Wisconsin will receive $3.7 million this year for the Great Lakes initiative, with much of that focused on reducing phosphorus runoff in the Lower Fox,” said Jimmy Bramblett, State Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).   “Reducing phosphorus is the key to cleaner water in Lake Michigan.”

The funding was provided through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and is available from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Wisconsin is one of eight states participating in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).  This is the fifth year of the Initiative.

Apply by July 18

Producers in the eligible watersheds can apply at their local USDA Service Center for funding to install conservation systems to reduce runoff and erosion. Applications are being accepted now through July 18, 2014.

GLRI focuses on conservation practices that are most effective at reducing farm runoff, as well as improving fish and wildlife habitat and controlling invasive species. Examples of these practices include waste storage facilities, crop residue management, no-till, nutrient management, tree planting, wetland creation, upland wildlife management, and brush management, among others.

Agriculture is just one of the areas that are part of the entire Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Other agencies and funds are dedicated to urban runoff and sprawl, sewage disposal, and industrial pollutants that threaten the Great Lakes’ water quality, fish populations, and human health.

Interested producers and landowners should contact their local USDA Service Center before July 18 to apply. For more information, visit www.wi.nrcs.usda.gov , or contact the NRCS office at the USDA Service Center serving your county.