Indianapolis, February 9, 2018–Jill Reinhart, Acting State Conservationist for Indiana’s USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced today that NRCS is accepting applications until March 16 to be considered for second round funding to improve water quality in targeted high priority watersheds in the Mississippi River Basin. This program helps fund conservation practices that will reduce loss of nutrients and sediment to waters that eventually flow into the Gulf of Mexico.
“We are working with partners to encourage farmers to put in conservation practices that address water quality concerns and help improve soil health and agricultural production in these areas,” Reinhart said. “By targeting dollars to areas of greatest resource concern we can make a more positive impact on the health of our streams and rivers, and ultimately the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico.”
These projects are funded through NRCS’ Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI), which uses two Farm Bill programs, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) to encourage farmers adopt conservation systems to improve water quality, reduce erosion, enhance wildlife habitat, and restore wetlands.
Eligible producers in the targeted watersheds will have the opportunity to take advantage of targeted funding for conservation practices on their land. Targeted watersheds include:
·Big Pine Creek Headwaters watershed (portions of White and Benton counties)
·Big Pine Creek – Brumm Darby watershed (Benton County)
·Busseron Creek watershed (Vigo and Sullivan counties)
·Cicero Creek watersheds (Tipton, Hamilton, Clinton and Boone counties)
·Fish Creek watershed (Owen, Greene, and Monroe counties)
·Little Wea Creek watershed (Tippecanoe County)
·Plummer Creek watershed (Greene County)
The program helps to fund key practice that reduce the loss of nutrients and sediments to Indiana waterbodies, and eventually the Gulf of Mexico. Some of the practices that the program can help with include:
·Reduced Tillage (Residue and Tillage Management) and No-Till
·Filter Strips, Grassed Waterways and Contour Buffer Strips
·Wetland Creation, Wetland Enhancement and Wetland Restoration
·Edge of field practices, such as Denitrifying Bioreactors and Two-Stage Ditches (Open Channel)