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The Nation’s freshwater supply, shaped by rainfall, snowmelt, runoff and infiltration, is distributed unevenly across the landscape, throughout the seasons, and from year to year. In many areas, concerns are growing about the adequacy of the available ground and surface water supply and the quality of the water to support intended uses.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides technical and financial help to landowners for conservation practices that protect soil and water quality. Grassed waterways, stream fencing, critical area planting, terraces, manure management systems including storage structures and barnyard runoff protection, and many other conservation practices are eligible for EQIP.

Irrigation and Water Management

Irrigation and Water Management: Protecting Your Natural Resource - NRCS can help farmers with irrigation water management strategies tailored to their farm’s specific needs. Conservation practices can also protect water quality in the surrounding ecosystem. Irrigation water management is the process of monitoring and managing the volume, frequency, and rate of water application according to seasonal crop needs, considering the soil intake and water holding capabilities in a planned, efficient manner. Soil moisture should be managed to obtain optimum yields without deep percolation losses or runoff.


  • The Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program is intended to take emergency measures to safeguard lives and property after a natural occurrence has caused a sudden impairment of the watershed. 
  • The Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Programs assist governments and participants to protect and restore watershed from damage caused by erosion, floodwater, and sediment, to conserve and develop water and land resources, and solve natural resource and related economic problems on a watershed basis. 
  • The Watershed Rehabilitation sponsors repair and rehabilitate these PL-566 dams.

Wetlands Reserve Program

The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) is a voluntary program to restore and protect wetlands on private property. It is an opportunity for landowners to receive financial incentives to enhance wetlands in exchange for restoring wetlands that have been drained for agriculture. Landowners who choose to participate in WRP may sell a conservation easement or enter into a cost-share restoration agreement with USDA to restore and protect wetlands.  Wetlands provide open water, grassy wetlands and uplands and provide habitat for waterfowl (ducks, geese, swans), wading birds (herons, egrets) and shorebirds such as yellowlegs. Read about Duffy's Marsh - Real Life Wetlands Reserve Program Project.