NRCS in partnership with the Montana Salinity Control Association is offering technical and financial assistance to monitor and understand saline sites, develop a reclamation plan, and implement practices that address the issue.
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering technical and financial assistance through the Montana Saline Seep Reclamation Project in partnership with the Montana Salinity Control Association (MSCA) to agricultural landowners across the state. While NRCS accepts applications for all programs year-round, producers and landowners should apply for this opportunity by the December 15, 2023, batching date to be considered for this funding cycle.
More than 300,000 acres in Montana are affected by high soil saline levels, negatively impacting soil health, ground and surface water, wildlife, livestock and agriculture production. Saline seeps expanded rapidly in the late 1960s due to large scale crop-fallow farming. The MSCA provides efficient methods, on a farm-by-farm basis, to reclaim these saline seeps.
Through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) Montana Saline Seep Reclamation Project, the MSCA completes groundwater investigations to determine the location and size of the recharge area to ensure land-use changes are planned where the highest impact can occur. Shallow groundwater monitoring wells are key to understanding the unique hydrogeology of each site before completing comprehensive saline seep reclamation plans for producers. Once an application is signed with NRCS a saline seep reclamation plan is developed by MSCA for the participant. The applications are then competitively ranked and selected to proceed with development of contract to implement conservation practice to treat the identified recharge area. Perennial vegetation lowers ground water levels, eliminating saline discharge to surface waters and acres of productive cropland.
“Saline seeps are highly controllable when resources are focused on the issue. The MSCA is dedicated to addressing the cause of seeps to minimize their impact to farmers across the state,” said Tom Watson, NRCS State Conservationist for Montana. “Addressing crop selection, rotation choices, and monitoring these sites are all key to mitigation.”
Landowners in Big Horn, Blaine, Carbon, Carter, Cascade, Chouteau, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Fergus, Garfield, Glacier, Golden Valley, Hill, Judith Basin, Liberty, McCone, Musselshell, Petroleum, Phillips, Pondera, Powder River, Prairie, Richland, Rosebud, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Stillwater, Teton, Toole, Treasure, Valley, Wheatland, Wibaux, and Yellowstone counties may be eligible for the project. Contact your local USDA Service Center for more information.
Find more information about RCPP projects at www.mt.nrcs.usda.gov under State Programs and Initiatives.