The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is sponsoring a public meeting regarding the new National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., May 24, at the Delta River Nature Center, 1400 Black Dog Road, in Pine Bluff, Ark. The meeting will inform producers about the NWQI, which is designed to assist them in improving the water quality in three impaired watersheds in Jefferson and Lincoln counties.
“The Water Quality Initiative will further NRCS’ partnership efforts to improve water quality using voluntary actions on private lands,” said Mike Sullivan, NRCS state conservationist. “This initiative is a focused approach in areas facing significant natural resource challenges. It bolsters the positive results of landscape conservation initiatives NRCS and its partners already have underway.”
Through this effort, eligible producers in Cousart Bayou-Little Cypress Bayou, Upper Deep Bayou and Lower Deep Bayou watersheds will invest in voluntary conservation actions to help provide cleaner water for their neighbors and communities. The selected watersheds were identified with help from the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC), Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts (AACD), University of Arkansas and other partners.
Using funds from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, NRCS will provide technical and financial assistance to producers to install conservation practices such as cover crops, filter strips and tailwater recovery systems in watersheds with impairments where the federal investment can make a difference to improve water quality.
NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year. Remember to check with your local NRCS office to see if you are located in a selected watershed. All applications for funding consideration, during this fiscal year, must be received by June 15, 2012. This summer, NRCS will notify all applicants of the results and begin developing contracts with selected applicants.