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Producer funding available for two Texas watershed areasProducer funding available for two Texas watershed areas

Producers, landowners and managers in Grayson, Collin, Fannin, Hunt, Lampasas and Burnet counties are eligible for assistance.

Farm Press Staff

March 11, 2022

3 Min Read
Funds available to producers, landowners and managers to implement conservation practices near two Texas watershed areas. Practices are aimed at improving drinking water quality from downstream sources.gemenacom / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Funding opportunities for farmers, ranchers and landowners with property in two Texas high-priority watersheds are available through the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI), according to a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) press release.

Eligible producers will receive financial and technical watershed assistance for implementing and planning conservation practices that make a difference in water quality downstream. One designated watershed is Lake Lavon, which is the uppermost reservoir on the East Fork of the Trinity River and is a primary source of raw water supply for the North Texas Municipal Water District. This initiative impacts parts of Fannin, Grayson, Hunt, and Collin counties.

The other watershed is the Lampasas River which is located within the Lampasas River watershed near the towns of Lampasas, Kemper and Briggs. These watersheds are upstream of Stillhouse Hollow Lake which is a primary drinking water source for much of the surrounding area. These sub-watersheds are in Lampasas and Burnet counties.

Conservation systems include practices that promote soil health, reduce erosion and lessen nutrient runoff, such as filter strips, cover crops, reduced tillage, and grazing management. These practices not only benefit natural resources but enhance agricultural productivity and profitability by improving soil health and optimizing the use of agricultural inputs, according to the NRCS. 

“We’ve learned that when we partner with producers to deliver conservation practices to critical watersheds, we see a positive impact,” said Kristy Oates, NRCS state conservationist for Texas. “Through these partnerships with private landowners, we maximize the delivery of our conservation efforts which yields greater results to water quality and benefits the public, our natural resources and farmers’ bottom lines.”

National Water Quality Initiative

The initiative is a partnership among NRCS, state water quality agencies and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to identify and address impaired water bodies through voluntary conservation. NRCS provides targeted funding for financial and technical assistance in small watersheds most in need and where farmers can use conservation practices to address impaired surface water. In 2019, NWQI was expanded to include the protection of both surface and ground sources of drinking water. 

Water quality is improving in NWQI watersheds, according to the NRCS. State water quality agency partners report that 27% of NWQI monitoring watersheds show an improvement in water quality in at least one of the NWQI-monitored pollutants (based on 2016 data). Further, 81% of these improvements can be attributed to or associated with agricultural conservation practices implemented by farmers and ranchers.

Since its launch, NWQI, which uses funds from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP),  has provided the following:

  • Helped producers implement conservation on 825,000 acres

  • Reduced sediment loss by 850,000 tons

  • Reduced phosphorous loss by 2 million pounds

  • Reduced nitrogen loss by 9.6 million pounds

Interested parties in the eligible counties can apply for assistance by April 29 at their local USDA Service Center to be considered for the 2022 ranking funding period. Visit the Texas NRCS website under “National Water Quality Initiative” for more details. To learn more about NWQI or other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS conservation programs, visit Get Started with NRCS or contact your local USDA Service Center


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