State Conservationist Jimmy Bramblett announced the launch of a National Water Quality Initiative in Wisconsin committed to improving impaired waterways. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service will manage the initiative by making funds available to farmers and forest landowners in the selected watersheds.
The three watersheds selected in Wisconsin are:
•Big Green Lake in Green Lake County
•Horse Lake-Horse Creek in Polk County
•Pigeon Lake-Pigeon River in Waupaca County
"We believe we can make a significant and noticeable improvement in the quality of these troubled waters by focusing efforts on the core clean water practices," says Bramblett. "By reducing soil erosion and nutrient loss from cropland, and repairing and stabilizing streambanks, the water and the fishery will recover in due time."
Eligible producers in these watersheds will begin voluntary conservation actions to work toward cleaner water for their families, neighbors and communities. The selected watersheds were identified with help from state agencies, partners, and the NRCS State Technical Committee. They have strong county and DNR involvement, ongoing water quality monitoring, and a history of farmer participation in conservation programs.
"Farmers try to be good stewards of the land, and they can succeed when they have the tools they need to protect water quality," says Bramblett. "We look forward to working with producers in these watersheds to help them improve the impaired streams."
Upland conservation practices will reduce the sediment loading from cropland. These practices include contour buffers, critical area planting, grade stabilization, grazing and conservation planning to reduce soil loss. To restore the stream corridor itself, streambank fencing, riprap, critical area planting, instream habitat features, and buffers may be needed.
NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year. This year, there are two ranking deadlines for NWQI. All applications must be received by June 21 or July 12, to be considered for funding this year. NRCS will notify all applicants of the results and begin developing contracts with selected applicants.
For more information about NRCS programs, initiatives and services in Wisconsin, visit us online at www.wi.nrcs.usda.gov
Source: Wisconsin NRCS