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Press Release

USDA Requests Public Input on Key Water Quality Initiative

 Public, Partner Comments Requested by April 7
Publish Date
Birds in flight over water

USDA is asking for public input on the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) until April 7, 2023.

HARRISBURG, PA, March 8, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is asking for public input on the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI). Through the published Federal Register notice, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) seeks feedback on how best to target program benefits, quantify impact, and improve program delivery and outreach in the future. 

“In watersheds across the country, we have seen the benefits of targeting resources, working one-on-one with farmers and ranchers to voluntarily implement conservation practices that improve water quality and often have climate co-benefits” said NRCS Chief Terry Cosby. “We’re proud of what the National Water Quality Initiative has accomplished, and we look forward to continuing to improve our efforts to ensure they provide the greatest impact for producers, communities and our nation’s waterways.” 

Information gathered through the Federal Register notice will help inform NRCS efforts to identify and prioritize improvements to this initiative starting in fiscal year 2024. 

This is a 30-day public comment period. Public comments should be submitted through the Federal Register notice by April 7, 2023. Questions should be sent to  

More Information

NWQI was launched in 2012, and is a partnership among NRCS, state water quality agencies and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to identify and address impaired water bodies through voluntary conservation. Through NWQI, NRCS provides targeted funding for financial and technical assistance to help farmers apply conservation practices to protect water resources.

Over the past ten years through NWQI, NRCS helped farmers and ranchers:

  • Reduce sediment loss by more than 1.1 million tons. 
  • Reduce phosphorus loss by more than 3.1 million pounds.
  • Reduce nitrogen loss by more than 13.5 million pounds. 

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit       

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.