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NRCS National Water Quality Initiative

General Program Description

Through the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering financial and technical assistance to farmers and forest landowners interested in improving water quality and aquatic habitats in The Rock River watershed. NRCS will help producers implement conservation and management practices through a systems approach to control and trap nutrient and manure runoff. Qualified producers will receive assistance for installing conservation practices such as cover crops, filter strips and grassed waterways.

Signup is offered on a continuous basis. See below for more information and a link to the EQIP application form.

Click here to see a map of the Rock River Watershed

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 and manure 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 through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).


NRCS identified the Rock River as a priority watershed through the help of local partnerships and state water quality agencies. Partners sometimes offer financial assistance in addition to NRCS programs. NRCS is coordinating with partners, including state agencies, conservation districts, nongovernmental organizations and others to provide additional funds to implement this initiative. Funding for most practices covered under these initiatives will be provided up to 90% of the anticipated cost. 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.

For More Information

Contact the St. Albans USDA Office to speak with a conservationist.

Historically underserved farmer/rancher (beginning farmer/rancher [BF], limited resource farmer/rancher [LRF], and socially disadvantaged farmer/rancher [SD]) are eligible for a higher payment rate. Certification that participants meet this requirement is made on the application, Form NRCS-CPA-1200.

Applications can be taken at any time during the year. Sign-up is conducted at local USDA Service Centers

National Water Quality Initiative's Application, Evaluation and Ranking Tool
National Water Quality Initiative's Core and Supporting Practices

For the most up-to-date EQIP application visit the National EQIP website. This application form is for all EQIP funding pools and initiatives. Up-to-date application forms are also available at your local USDA Service Center. You can sometimes find application forms on the programs web page.

Links to Other Useful Information

Electronic application filing is available through the Electronic Government website.

For additional local information or to apply, contact your Local NRCS Office.

VT NRCS Office Locations and Contact Information

EQIP Information from the National NRCS Website


Heather Wetzstein, Resource Conservationist - Programs Staff    
Phone: 802-951-6796 x-223