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News Release

USDA Announces FY2019 Partnership Program Sign-Up

Several years ago, the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) created the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The purpose of the program is to promote coordination with partners to deliver conservation assistance to producers and landowners. Through RCPP, NRCS provides technical assistance through agreements and direct funding for conservation practices.

 

One such project, Path to Reduce Pathogens in Connecticut Agricultural Runoff, is led by the University of Connecticut. Partners include the Eastern Connecticut Conservation District, Connecticut Department of Agriculture, Connecticut Sea Grant, University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System, The Last Green Valley, Stonington Shellfish Commission, and others. This group of partners is seeking to address high bacteria levels in the state’s rivers and shellfish beds which is caused by agricultural runoff. Steps  include using multi-tiered bacterial source tracking techniques to identify and target critical areas for treatment approaches in Eastern Connecticut – specifically sites in the Thames River Watershed, and some parts of the Southeast Coastal Watershed. 

 

There is now an opportunity for producers in this focus area to apply for USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds. The funds will be used to address water quality degradation due to high bacteria counts. Funding is available for livestock and agricultural operations wanting to implement practices to address degraded water quality through manure management, reductions in soil erosion, and elimination of runoff to streams and water bodies.

 

To be eligible, applications must be received by December 21, 2018. For additional information about eligibility under this project, contact Dr. John Clausen at (860) 486-0139, or by email at john.clausen@uconn.edu. Producers with the support of project sponsors may then be eligible to apply for RCPP-EQIP funding through NRCS.