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News Release

National Water Quality Initiative Provides Funds for Impaired Bazile Creek Watershed

James Mathine
(402) 589-9019 ext. 102

Agricultural producers located in priority watershed have until May 18 to apply for assistance.

SPENCER, NEB., April 6, 2018 – Special initiative funding is available through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) National Water Quality Initiative for producers in the Bazile Creek watershed. Funding through this initiative will offer financial assistance to producers to install conservation practices that will improve water quality. Interested applicants need to apply for this funding by May 18, 2018.

The area eligible to apply for funding through the National Water Quality Initiative lies within four Natural Resources Districts – the Upper Elkhorn, Lower Elkhorn, Lewis and Clark, and Lower Niobrara NRDs. This eligibility area is also within a critical water quality area known as the Bazile groundwater management area (see map).

Listed as an impaired water body, the Bazile Creek watershed has seen an increase in sediment and an overabundance of nutrients in both surface and groundwater. Nitrate levels in the groundwater have risen above the Environmental Protection Agency’s safe drinking level standard.  Nitrate levels above this standard pose a human health risk and have created a challenge for communities in the Bazile groundwater management area to provide safe drinking water to residents. The National Water Quality Initiative will work with producers in the area to implement conservation practices to reduce groundwater contamination and control runoff. 

Jim Mathine, district conservationist at the NRCS field office in Spencer strongly encourages landowners within the watershed to contact their local NRCS office to take advantage of this opportunity.

Mathine said, “Funding through the National Water Quality Initiative will allow producers to receive funding and technical assistance to apply conservation practices that will enhance water quality while lowering input costs and increasing land productivity. Working with producers to increase water quality in the Bazile Creek watershed will benefit every resident in the area through safer drinking water and improved wildlife habitat.”

According to Mathine, numerous conservation practices like cover crops, filter strips, nutrient management, no-till and other erosion control practices to improve water quality qualify for funding. Producers are urged to contact their local NRCS office for technical assistance. Sign-up for National Water Quality Initiative funding ends May 18, 2018.