Wallaces Farmer

Rathbun Lake in Southern Iowa Gets New USDA Water Quality Grant

Rathbun Lake is among 63 nationally funded water conservation projects to receive money in this new USDA program.

August 6, 2009

2 Min Read

State Conservationist Richard Sims, who heads USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service in Iowa, announced on July 30 that USDA has awarded nearly $159,000 for 2009 to the Rathbun Land and Water Alliance through the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program for water conservation and water quality improvements on agricultural working lands. USDA will provide the project $159,000 in AWEP funds annually for five years.

USDA funds will be combined with other project monies to provide up to 75% financial assistance for farmers in three targeted sub-watersheds: Sandy Branch in Appanoose County, Hamilton Creek in Lucas County and Goodwater Creek in Wayne County.  Farmers can use the financial assistance to implement specific best-management practices for reducing sediment and phosphorous runoff into Rathbun Lake, a main water supply source for southern Iowa. These practices include terraces, grassed waterways, grade stabilization structures, water and sediment control basis, rotational grazing and improved grazing practices.

Farmers can sign up for this cost-share money

Sign up for these special funds is continuous at USDA Service Centers in Lucas, Wayne and Appanoose counties; however the initial cutoff date for this year's monies is August 7. Additional application ranking will occur every following Friday until all funds are obligated.

USDA is funding 63 AWEP projects for $57 million in 21 states.  With the services and resources of other conservation partners, AWEP allows the Federal Government to leverage investment in natural resources conservation. 

AWEP promotes ground and surface water conservation and improves water quality by helping farmers and ranchers implement agricultural water enhancement activities.

AWEP was established by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (commonly known as the 2008 Farm Bill) and funding comes from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. The Natural Resources Conservation Service administers the program for USDA. NRCS implements AWEP by entering into EQIP contracts directly with agricultural producers.

Everyone receiving assistance through AWEP must meet EQIP requirements. Though participating AWEP producers do not need to have existing EQIP contracts, they must be eligible for EQIP. All partner proposals were selected competitively. 

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