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Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative -Arkansas

Apply by: December 23, 2022

The Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative (MRBI) is accelerating voluntary, on-farm conservation investments and focused water quality monitoring and assessment resources in the Mississippi River watershed.

Known as “America’s River,” the Mississippi River is North America’s largest river, flowing over 2,300 miles through America’s heartland to the Gulf of Mexico. It is the centerpiece of the second largest watershed in the world. The watershed not only provides drinking water, food, industry, and recreation for millions of people, it also hosts a globally significant migratory flyway and home for over 325 bird species.

Through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI), NRCS and partners work with producers and landowners to implement voluntary conservation practices that improve water quality, restore wetlands, enhance wildlife habitat and sustain agricultural profitability in the Mississippi River basin. 

NRCS has identified the Mississippi River basin as a top priority due to water quality concerns, primarily related to the effects of nutrient loading on the health of local water bodies and, eventually, the Gulf of Mexico.

How Does MRBI Work?

The 13-state initiative builds on the cooperative work of NRCS and its conservation partners in the basin, and offers agricultural producers in priority watersheds the opportunity for voluntary technical and financial assistance.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Accepting EQIP Applications through Dec 23, 2022, for Three Arkansas Water Quality Projects

LITTLE ROCK, November 21, 2022 – The  USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is investing in three new landscape-level water quality efforts for the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI).

“We have learned that when we work with producers and partner to install conservation practices within critical watersheds, we see a positive impact,” said NRCS State Conservationist in Arkansas Mike Sullivan. “Through these partnerships, we accelerate and maximize the delivery of our conservation efforts which yields greater results to water quality and benefits the public, our natural resources and farmers’ bottom lines.”

Arkansas has three new MRBI projects that will be receiving financial assistance dollars in fiscal year 2023. NRCS accepts program applications on a continuous basis but sets dates to batch and rank applications as funding allows. Farmers and landowners in Arkansas who submit applications to their local NRCS office by Dec, 23, 2022, will be considered for this round of funding. Applications received after Dec. 23, 2022, will be considered in later funding periods, subject to funding availability.


Arkansas’s project areas are:

MRBI

  • North Big Creek-Strawberry River – Portions of Sharp and Izard counties
  • West Craighead – Portions of Craighead, Jackson, Greene, and Lawrence
  • Arkansas County Lower White – Portions of Arkansas county

 

NRCS has strengthened its focus on watershed assessment and partner engagement in selecting priority small watersheds in recent years. Partners are encouraged to work with Arkansas NRCS for new project area interests. 

All applications will be evaluated for funding based on local, state and nationally developed criteria to optimize environmental benefits. Applications ranking highest in a funding category will be funded according to priority and is subject to availability of program funds.

For more information, visit http://www.ar.nrcs.usda.gov/ or contact the local your local USDA Service Center.

 

MRBI in Arkansas

Arkansas has 10 active MRBI projects. They are:

New Priority Areas

Watershed

County/Counties

2019 Upper Lower St. FrancisClay (portion)

2019 Middle CacheJackson (portion)

2019 Lower St. FrancisCrittenden (portion)

2019 Cadron Creek-Brewer Lake WatershedFaulkner and Conway (portion)

2019 Cache River WatershedsWoodruff (portion)

2021 Canal 43Desha, Chicot Counties

2021 Candy CreekSt Francis, Lee Counties

2021 Izard Lower StrawberrySharp, Izard Counties

2021 Twin CreeksCross, St Francis Counties

 

Existing Priority Areas

The following existing priority areas in Arkansas were extended and will offer financial assistance through FY19:

Watershed

County/Counties

2016 Willow Ditch, Podo Creek-Cache RiverCraighead, Jackson and Lawrence

2016 Middle Strawberry RiverSharp

2016 Tupelo Bayou - Beaverdam CreekFaulkner

2016 Upper Bayou MaconDesha and Lincoln

2015 Caney Creek


Previous Year Information (Archived)

  • TBA

Program Contact

  • Amanda Mathis, ASTC, Partnerships
    (501) 301-3162
  • Clyde Williams, ASTC Programs
    (501) 301-3165

MRBI Success Stories

Learn more about the impact of MRBI through our success stories.

Ready to get started?

Contact your local service center to start your application.

Find Your Local Service Center

USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit offices.usda.gov.

How to Get Assistance

Do you farm or ranch and want to make improvements to the land that you own or lease?

Natural Resources Conservation Service offers technical and financial assistance to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.

how to get started

To get started with NRCS, we recommend you stop by your local NRCS field office. We’ll discuss your vision for your land.

NRCS provides landowners with free technical assistance, or advice, for their land. Common technical assistance includes: resource assessment, practice design and resource monitoring. Your conservation planner will help you determine if financial assistance is right for you.

We’ll walk you through the application process. To get started on applying for financial assistance, we’ll work with you:

  • To fill out an AD 1026, which ensures a conservation plan is in place before lands with highly erodible soils are farmed. It also ensures that identified wetland areas are protected.
  • To meet other eligibility certifications.

Once complete, we’ll work with you on the application, or CPA 1200.

Applications for most programs are accepted on a continuous basis, but they’re considered for funding in different ranking periods. Be sure to ask your local NRCS district conservationist about the deadline for the ranking period to ensure you turn in your application in time.

As part of the application process, we’ll check to see if you are eligible. To do this, you’ll need to bring:

  • An official tax ID (Social Security number or an employer ID)
  • A property deed or lease agreement to show you have control of the property; and
  • A farm tract number.

If you don’t have a farm tract number, you can get one from USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Typically, the local FSA office is located in the same building as the local NRCS office. You only need a farm tract number if you’re interested in financial assistance.

NRCS will take a look at the applications and rank them according to local resource concerns, the amount of conservation benefits the work will provide and the needs of applicants.

If you’re selected, you can choose whether to sign the contract for the work to be done.

Once you sign the contract, you’ll be provided standards and specifications for completing the practice or practices, and then you will have a specified amount of time to implement. Once the work is implemented and inspected, you’ll be paid the rate of compensation for the work if it meets NRCS standards and specifications.