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News - Eastern San Joaquin One of Four Areas Selected for $5 Million in Water Quality Funding

Natural Resources Conservation Service - News Release

Eastern San Joaquin One of Four Areas Selected for $5 Million in Water Quality Funding

Diana Waller (209) 491-9320
Malia Hildebrandt (209) 722-4119

DAVIS, Calif., March 29, 2012—$5 million is available to farmers and dairy producers east of the San Joaquin River in Merced and Stanislaus Counties to participate in a new opportunity to receive technical and financial assistance for water conservation and water quality. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced today that the area is one of four statewide that will receive funds through the Agency’s national landscape conservation initiative to help improve the Bay Delta ecosystem. Funds are being made available through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Applications are due April 20, 2012.

"This is a great opportunity to bring our partners in both the dairy industry and irrigated agriculture together to address this mutual need to reduce risks to shallow groundwater and surface water from pesticides and nutrients," said Diana Waller, Modesto, and Malia Hildebrandt, Merced. Waller and Hildebrandt are the NRCS District Conservationists who are teaming up with partners to implement this initiative in their joint watershed east of the San Joaquin River. "Typically these concerns are approached industry by industry, but in this case the partners are sharing time and resources to conserve and protect water and aquatic habitat on a landscape level," said the conservationists.

Approved practices for dairies will include structures and management to capture, store, measure and distribute manure nutrients in a safe and useful way. For irrigated cropland, farmers can receive technical and financial help for practices to conserve water and to protect surface and ground water quality. Examples of funded conservation work include hardware and management to improve irrigation efficiency, tail-water return systems, sediment basins, orchard cover crops, and pest and nutrient management. All systems aim to reduce deep percolation losses to ground water and reduce risks from run-off to surface water.

Eligible producers who submit applications and other required documents by close-of-business on April 20, 2012, will be considered for this Fiscal Year 2012 funding cycle. Funding decisions will be made according to the highest priority list of screened and ranked applications available at that time. Applications will continue to be accepted after this deadline, but ranking and funding decisions will be deferred until the next funding cycle.

Interested farmers in Merced County should visit the NRCS Service Center in Merced, located at 2135 Wardrobe Avenue, Suite C, Merced, CA 95341, or call (209) 722-4119.

Interested farmers in Stanislaus County should visit the NRCS Service Center in Modesto, located at 3800 Cornucopia Way, Suite E, Modesto, CA 95358, or call (209) 491-9320.

NRCS has provided leadership in a partnership effort to help America's private land owners and managers conserve their soil, water and other natural resources since 1935. For more information on NRCS, visit


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