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National Water Quality Initiative

The EQIP National Water Quality Initiative will assist producers to address high-priority water resource concerns in watersheds identified as impaired by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

This initiative will utilize a special EQIP funding allocation to accelerate efforts to improve water quality in three 12-digit watersheds with streams designated by the EPA for the Clean Water Act section 303(d) list of impaired waters.

This EQIP NWQI provides a separate funding pool, specific set of eligible core and supporting conservation practices and separate ranking criteria for eligible producers with land located in one of the priority watersheds.

Eligible Watersheds

The following watersheds are eligible for NWQI funding:

Name of 8 Digit Hydrologic Unit Code Name of 12 Digit Hydrologic Unit Code 12 Digit Hydrologic Unit Code Number
Eel Silver Creek 051201040501
Eel Beargrass Creek 051201040503
Patoka Ell Creek 051202090405
Upper White Eagle Creek Reservoir - Eagle Creek 051202011108

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. Nutrient management systems, erosion control, conservation tillage, pest management, and buffers systems are just some of the practices being offered as part of the National Water Quality Initiative. 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. Partners sometimes 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 nationwide 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 office. 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 priority watershed.

For More Information

To sign up for the NWQI Program, please contact your local service center.