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News Release

USDA seeks proposals from partners for Upper Manhan River watershed assessment plan in western Mass.

Diane Petit, Public Affairs Specialist (media inquiries)

AMHERST, Mass., May 3, 2022 – The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking proposals from partner organizations to develop a watershed assessment plan to support the National Water Quality Initiative in western Massachusetts. One watershed assessment will be completed in the western portion of Massachusetts for the Upper Manhan River (headwaters to North Brook) located primarily in the towns of Westhampton and Southampton, Massachusetts. NRCS has $50,000 total available funds for this cooperative agreement award.

A watershed assessment helps to determine where federal conservation investments would best address impaired water quality within the watershed. The assessment involves water quality data and flow characteristics to focus NRCS technical and financial assistance with landowners and conservation groups.  The assessment activities include an inventory of agricultural areas, identifying conservation opportunities and current levels of natural resource estimate the potential benefit of conservation practices on water quality within the watershed.

Proposals are requested from city or town governments, county governments, federally recognized tribal Governments, nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS (other than institutions of higher education), private Institutions of higher education, special district governments, state governments, or public and state-controlled institutions of higher education. Proposals will be considered in a competitive process, which will result in a cooperative agreement between NRCS and the partner organization for an 18-month project.

Applicants must have expertise in watershed assessment plans and be specifically capable of using the assessment template found in the funding opportunity, which can be found on, funding opportunity number USDA-NRCS-MA-NWQI-22-NOFO0001187. Applications must be submitted via by 11:59 pm Eastern Time on May 27, 2022.

“The partner organization should share similar goals with NRCS,” said Dan Wright, State Conservationist for NRCS in Massachusetts. “Those goals are supporting healthy watersheds and diverse land use communities, protecting communities and people through rehabilitated watershed structures, enhancing and improving water quality and water quantity, and providing habitat for diverse and important fish and wildlife species.”

NRCS is a federal agency that works hand-in-hand with the people of Massachusetts to improve and protect soil, water and other natural resources. The agency has offices in USDA Service Centers in Greenfield, Hadley, Holden, Pittsfield, Westford, Wareham and West Yarmouth, which work with local conservation districts and other partners to serve farmers and landowners in their area.