Voluntary edge-of-field water quality monitoring enables agricultural producers and scientists to quantify the impacts of conservation work on water quality. Through edge-of-field monitoring, NRCS works with producers and conservation partners, such as universities, agencies, and non-governmental organizations, to measure the amount of nutrients and sediment in water runoff from a field, and compare the improvements under different conservation systems.
NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to farmers in target watersheds who are interested in voluntarily installing monitoring stations. NRCS first introduced edge-of-field monitoring as an opportunity through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) in 2013.
NRCS made available $2 million in fiscal year 2016 to interested producers in 206 watersheds in nine states - Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Vermont, and Washington.