August 3, 2010
The Sauk River Watershed area, including portions of Douglas, Pope, Stearns, and Todd counties, has been approved to receive more than $12 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to carry out projects that will help landowners implement conservation practices that prevent, control and trap nutrient runoff from agricultural land.
"The funding announced today by USDA is great news for landowners," said Chuck Uphoff, a dairy producer and Stearns County Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor. "These new funds will allow additional conservation practices to be applied to the landscape, expanding their reach and impact."
Under the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service and partners will provide both technical and financial assistance over a four-year period for projects in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin. The MRBI builds on efforts to address nutrient loading in the Mississippi River Basin. Nutrient loading contributes to both local water quality problems and the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico.
Many conservation practices are available through the MRBI including animal waste management systems, nutrient management, crop residue management/tillage, grassed waterways, irrigation water management, and prescribed grazing. Partner organizations also contributed additional financial resources.
This funding will help landowners implement a system of conservation practices that will control soil erosion, improve soil quality and provide wildlife habitat. "We will help landowners identify and install practices that will achieve environmental benefits every day," says Dennis Fuchs, Stearns County SWCD administrator and Sauk River MRBI project manager. "These funds will allow landowners to demonstrate their ability to implement voluntary conservation practices that will reduce pollutant loading on a landscape-scale."
The map shows the area of the Sauk watershed that will be targeted. Interested landowners should visit their local NRCS/SWCD offices in their pertinent county to sign up for the program. The sign-up period will end Friday, August 27, 2010.
These multi-year watershed projects were selected through a competitive process. Awardees will receive additional funding over the next three fiscal years. A listing of the projects by state and additional information about the MRBI are available HERE.
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