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National Water Quality Initiative Fact Sheet

National Water Quality Initiative Fact Sheet


Filter strips improve water qualityThrough the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering financial and technical assistance to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners interested in improving water quality and aquatic habitats in priority watersheds with impaired streams. NRCS will help producers implement conservation and management practices through a systems approach to control and trap nutrient and manure runoff. Qualified producers will receive assistance for installing conservation practices such as cover crops, filter strips, and terraces. For over 75 years, NRCS has provided agricultural producers with assistance to implement voluntary conservation practices that protect natural resources while maintaining production and profits.

Kansas Priority Watersheds

Town of Munjor-Big Creek

This watershed is located in the Smoky River Watershed in southeast Ellis County. The land use acres are cropland 26,194, grassland 10,490, miscellaneous 53, water 636, and woodland 33, totaling 37,405. Impairments in this watershed include nitrates and total phosphorus.

City of Hesston�West Emma Creek

This watershed is located in the Little Arkansas Watershed in portions of Harvey and McPherson Counties. The land use acres are cropland 21,772, grassland 1,685, miscellaneous 154, water 103, and woodland 1,219, totaling 24,933. Impairments in this watershed include biological and total phosphorus.

Headwaters Grasshopper Creek

This watershed is located in the Delaware River Watershed in southcentral Brown County and small portions of Atchison and Jackson Counties. The land use acres are cropland 14,133, grassland 4,838, woodland 2,035, water 919, and miscellaneous 140, totaling 22,065. Impairments in this watershed include phosphorus.

Conservation Funding and Practices

NRCS conservation professionals will provide technical assistance and planning tools to determine which conservation actions will provide the best results to improve water quality on your land. In Kansas, nutrient management systems, erosion control, conservation tillage, pest management, buffer systems, and grazing and forestry practices are just some of the practices being offered as part of the NWQI. To help install these conservation practices, financial assistance to share in the cost of these conservation practices is available though the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).


NRCS identified priority watersheds through the help of local partnerships and state water quality agencies. Also, partners may offer financial assistance in addition to NRCS programs. NRCS will continue to coordinate with local and state agencies, conservation districts, nongovernmental organizations, and others to implement this initiative. This strategic approach will leverage funds and provide streamlined assistance to help individual agricultural producers take needed actions to reduce the flow of sediment, nutrients, and other runoff into impaired waterways.

Producer Benefits

Water quality conservation practices benefit agricultural producers by lowering input costs and enhancing the productivity of working lands. Conservation investments are good for all Americans, because well-managed farms limit pollution from runoff, produce food and fiber, sustain rural economies, and provide food security to the Nation. All across the country�farmers, ranchers and forest landowners are voluntarily taking action and putting conservation on the ground to improve water quality on millions of acres!

Public Benefits

NRCS is proud to be involved in a nation wide effort with landowners and communities to improve and protect our water resources. The landowners and farmers participating in the initiative will receive conservation payments to work on the land in a sustainable way which provides cleaner water. In addition to the financial assistance, the land will remain productive into the future. Communities benefit by having clean waterways, safer drinking water, and healthy habitat for fish and wildlife.

How to Apply

To get started, make an appointment at your local U.S. Department of Agriculture Service Center. You will need to establish eligibility and farm records for your land. NRCS will help you complete an application while explaining which conservation practices are available in your watershed.

Remember to check with your local NRCS office to see if you are located in a selected watershed. In Kansas, underserved, socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers will receive a higher payment rate for conservation practices related to the NWQI.

For More Information

Town of Munjor�Big Creek Watershed
Hays Service Center
2715 Canterbury Dr.
Hays, KS 67601-2137

City of Hesston�West Emma Creek Watershed
McPherson Service Center
200 S. Centennial Dr., Suite A
McPherson, KS 67460-4012

Newton Service Center
1405 S. Spencer Rd.
Newton, KS 67114-4126

Headwaters Grasshopper Creek Watershed
Effingham Service Center
605 Sixth St.
Effingham, KS 66023-4041

Hiawatha Service Center
1310 Oregon St.
Hiawatha, KS 66434-2203

Holton Service Center
307 Montana Ave.
Holton, KS 66436-1127

Map of Kansas showing the location of the eligible watersheds.

This information is also available for download (requires Adobe Reader).

National Water Quality Initiative Fact Sheet (PDF; 468 KB)