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2014 National Water Quality Initiative

The National Water Quality Initiative works in priority watersheds to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners improve water quality and aquatic habitats in Maryland's impaired streams. NRCS helps producers implement conservation and management practices through a systems approach to control  and trap nutrient and manure runoff. Qualified producers can receive assistance for installing conservation practices such as cover crops, filter strips and terraces.

Through this effort, eligible producers in the Catoctin Creek Watershed invest in voluntary conservation actions to help provide cleaner water for their neighbors and communities. The selected watersheds was identified with help from state agencies, partners, and the NRCS State Technical Committee.

Map of Catoctin Creek WatershedThe Catoctin Creek Watershed encompasses the southwestern portion of Frederick County and is framed by Catoctin Mountain on the east and South Mountain on the west. The Catoctin Creek watershed drains an area of 120 square miles, which includes areas of forested mountain slopes, agricultural valleys, and small towns. The area’s waters are impaired by sediments, nutrients, impacts to biological communities, and fecal coliform. The land use distribution in the watershed is approximately 43% agricultural, 42% forest/herbaceous, and 15% urban, with agricultural land mostly planted in row crops and pasture.

Fact Sheet

How to apply

All applications for funding consideration during fiscal year 2014, must be received by July 18, 2014.

To get started, contact the Frederick County Field Service Center to ensure you are located in the selected watershed. You can then make an appointment 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.

National Water Quality Initiative


Mikel Williams Hawkins
Farm Bill Specialist
Phone: 443.482.2923

Tom Morgart
Assistant State Conservationist- Programs
Phone: 443.482.2927