COLUMBUS, OH, Feb. 18, 2020 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will offer a new opportunity for agricultural producers and landowners to improve water quality, restore Northern Bobwhite Quail populations, and improve wildlife habitat with the Clear Creek Water Quality and Wildlife Habitat Initiative.
Water and soil quality are of primary concern in the Clear Creek Watershed with over half of the watershed in agricultural land use. NRCS conservation professionals and partners will provide technical assistance to help farmers or landowners determine which conservation actions will provide the greatest environmental benefits. Effective conservation measures provide farmers with an arsenal of ways to keep nutrients in their fields and out of lakes and streams. Utilizing effective nutrient management will help reduce nutrients and sediment from entering Clear Creek Watershed while cover crops keep the ground covered to prevent soil erosion, trap nutrients, and improve soil health.
Conservation cover, cover crops, grassed waterways, and critical area seedings are just a few of the conservation practices available with this special project. Each will help to improve water and soil quality as well as address the loss of quail population and the need for wildlife habitat. Grassed waterways filter and reduce erosion by slowing and diverting runoff as well as providing habitat for ground nesting birds. While cover crops are an important measure to improve water quality and soil health, they also provide much need extra forage and habitat for reduced quail populations and other wildlife during cold winter months.
The Clear Creek Watershed is located in the northern part of Highland County and NRCS has identified Highland County as a focal area for Northern Bobwhite Quail populations. Participants are encouraged to implement effective conservation practices to help address habitat loss and conduct targeted restoration activities for ground nesting birds and other wildlife.
To help install conservation practices, NRCS will provide financial assistance to approved applicants through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). EQIP is a voluntary conservation program that helps agricultural producers protect the environment while promoting agricultural production. With EQIP, NRCS conservation experts provide technical assistance to implement environmentally beneficial conservation practices on working agricultural land.
Individuals interested in applying for the Clear Creek Water Quality and Wildlife Habitat Initiative should make an appointment with the local NRCS conservationist as soon as possible. NRCS will accept applications for funding until March 20, 2020.