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News Release

Farmers in Five VT Watersheds Eligible for SWPA Funding

Assistance Can Help Farmers Install Conservation Practices that Protect Drinking Water Sources

Farmers in the target watersheds encouraged to apply by December 31, 2021

December 1, 2021-- Vermont USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Acting State Conservationist Justin Tuthill announced that five Vermont watersheds are identified as source water protection areas. Eligible farmers in these watersheds can receive increased payment rates to install key priority conservation practices that address source water protection. The target watersheds in Vermont are the Headwaters Passumpsic River, portions of the Vernon Dam Watershed, South Stream Wallomsac River, Jail Branch, and Headwaters of Brown River. You can view a map of the areas and locate contact information for each watershed at this link:

While applications are accepted at any time, farmers in these watersheds should submit applications by December 31, 2021, to increase chances for funding this fiscal year.

The 2018 Farm Bill included a provision for the protection of source water through targeted conservation practices. This includes working with drinking water partners to identify local priority areas for source water protection and identifying practices that address water quality and quantity threats to source water for increased incentive rates. The Safe Drinking Water Act (of 1974, amended 1996), implemented by EPA, mandated the identification of responsible State agencies and entities as well as the delineation of source water protection areas (SWPA). NRCS has leveraged these State and locally driven source water protection activities to implement the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) source water protection focus.

This project identifies local priority areas for drinking water protection in each state in collaboration with State Technical Committees and community water systems and may address concerns about either the quality or quantity of source water or both. It also provides increased incentives for conservation practices that relate to water quality and quantity and protect drinking water sources while also benefitting producers.

Priority conservation practices were identified to support the objectives of the source water protection plans in the five Vermont watersheds. They are--

Conservation Crop Rotation

Cover Crop

Ground Water Testing

Riparian Forest Buffer

Filter Strip

Heavy Use Area Protection

Nutrient Management

Pest Management Conservation System

Agrichemical Handling Facility

Well Decommissioning

Eligible farmers in these five watersheds are encouraged to contact their local NRCS office before December 31 to submit an application.