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News Release

NRCS Improves Impaired Watersheds in Minnesota


Julie MacSwain State Public Affairs Specialist, (651) 602-7859


    ST PAUL, MINN, June 25, 2013 –State Conservationist Don Baloun reminds Agricultural producers Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) funding is available to improve water quality in three Minnesota impaired watersheds. 

“The National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) furthers NRCS’ partnership efforts to improve water quality using voluntary actions on private lands,” said Baloun.  This initiative includes three watersheds in Minnesota:

  • Gilchrist-Lake-East Branch Chippewa River
  • Big Twin Lake-Elm Creek
  • Seven mile Creek

NWQI is a tool agricultural producers can use to plant cover crops in Minnesota to improve and protect soil and improve soil health and reduce soil erosion in Prevented planted fields.

Prolonged rain and flooding in 2013 has resulted in many fields that will go unplanted this year.  Farmers in this situation need to weigh not only their program and insurance options (“prevented planting”), but should also assess agronomic options to ensure long-term productivity from this difficult situation.

“NWQI is a great opportunity to fund cover crops,” said Rick Berscheid, Minnesota NRCS Acting State Resource Conservationist.  “The benefits of covers crops are numerous including the fixing of nitrogen, build organic matter, control weeds, control erosion and/or improve soil quality during the remainder of the planting season.”

Producers are advised to check with USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Risk Management Agency (RMA) on prevented planting requirements and harvest restrictions for cover crops.  Eligible producers through EQIP will receive assistance for installing conservation systems that may include practices such as cover crops, conservation cropping systems, and in some cases edge-of-field water quality monitoring.

NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year.  All application consideration for NWQI must be received by July 12, 2013.

For more information about NRCS’ programs, initiatives and services in Minnesota, visit us online at



Big Twin Lake Watershed; Gilchrist Lake Watershed and Seven Mile Creek Watershed

Big Twin Lake























Gilchrist Lake























Seven Mile Creek

























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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