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News Release

NRCS Works to Improve Impaired Watersheds in Florida

Jeffrey Woods

Release No. 102013

Agricultural producers in priority watersheds must apply by June 21, 2013

Gainesville, FL., May 2, 2013 — Acting Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist Roney Gutierrez today announced additional funding for an initiative to improve water quality in selected watersheds in Florida. Cost share assistance through the agency’s National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) will be available this year to help farmers, ranchers and forestland owners install conservation practices that manage nutrients, pathogens and sediments.

“The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) worked closely with our conservation partners to select these 3 priority watersheds,” said Gutierrez. “The National Water Quality Initiative in Florida is a focused approach to improve water quality in the Lower St. Johns River and Choctawhatchee River.”

Eligible producers will receive assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program for installing conservation systems that may include practices such as nutrient management, cover crops, conservation cropping systems, filter strips, and in some cases, edge-of-field water quality monitoring.

NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year. However, all applications for NWQI funding in Florida must be received by June 21, 2013 to be eligible for funding for this fiscal year.

Eligible producers in the watersheds listed below will invest in voluntary conservation actions to help provide cleaner water for their neighbors and communities:

  • Deep Creek and Clarks Creek Watersheds on the Lower St. Johns River - within portions of Putnam and St. Johns Counties:
    • Contact: Tom Cheyne, District Conservationist, 386-328-2908, x3
  • Little Scurlock Creek in the Lower Choctawhatchee River - within portions of Jackson and Washington Counties:
    • Contact: Mary Jane Nelson, District Conservationist, 850-526-2610, x3

See the NWQI Florida website for more details.

Through this water quality initiative, NRCS is also piloting its new Water Quality Index for Agricultural Runoff. The tool will help landowners determine how alternative conservation systems they are considering will impact water quality improvement. Additionally, state water quality agencies and other partners will do in-stream and watershed-level monitoring to track water quality improvements in many of the project watersheds.

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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