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News Release

Application Being Accepted to Improve the Great Lakes Basin

Julie MacSwain, State Public Affairs Specialist, (651) 602-7859


ST. PAUL, MN, MAY 2, 2012- More than $24 million is available to agricultural producers and landowners to improve and protect the waters and resources in the Great Lakes Basin, announced Don Baloun, State Conservationist for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  Applications to install specific conservation practices through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) are being accepted for priority ranking through June 8, 2012.

Producers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin can apply at their local USDA office for funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP), and the Conservation Technical Assistance Program (CTAP).  NRCS specialists provide farmers and ranchers with technical assistance to help determine the best conservation practices to improve and protect the resources on their land. 

“The GLRI is a multi-agency group working together to improve and protect the waters of the Great Lakes Basin,” said Baloun.  “NRCS is proud to be able to work with farmers and landowners on private lands who are doing their part to improve the resources.”

This year GLRI focuses on practices that have the highest benefit for reducing water quality degradation due to agricultural runoff, and practices that establish and improve fish and wildlife habitat and assist in controlling invasive species.  Examples of these practices include waste storage facilities, residue management no-till, nutrient management, tree planting, wetland creation, upland wildlife management, and brush management, among others.

“The farmers and landowners who come to us for help are really the ones that deserve the credit,” said Baloun.  “We provide them with information on the scientifically-proven practices and where best to use them, as well as financing to help pay for them, but it’s their land and they make the decisions.”

All eight states are using the same dates for the sign-up.  Interested landowners should contact their local USDA office before June 8, 2012, to apply.

Of the $24 million, $10 million will be specifically directed at reducing phosphorus loading in three specific watersheds in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio – Tributaries of the Lower Fox (Upper Duck and Upper East River), Saginaw Bay (Kearsley, Swartz, and Thread Creeks), and Maumee River (Upper Blanchard).  The same sign-up deadlines apply.

For more information about NRCS conservation programs online, visit: or visit your local USDA Service Center.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410, TDD).

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