November 9, 2015
USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service will invest $30 million this year in 33 new projects and 40 existing projects to improve water quality in high priority watersheds the Mississippi River Basin.
These projects reduce loss of nutrients and sediment to waters that eventually flow into the Gulf of Mexico.
Four Minnesota projects chosen to improve Mississippi River Basin water quality
"By targeting small priority watersheds within the Mississippi River basin, we are helping to deliver local water quality benefits and contributing to large-scale improvements for the Basin as a whole," said Tom Vilsack, USDA secretary. "Water quality is important to everyone, at all levels of government, to private landowners, and in rural and urban areas alike. The many partnerships created through this initiative are both impressive and promising to the future of these watersheds."
These projects are funded through NRCS' Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative which uses several 2014 Farm Bill conservation programs, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, to help farmers adopt conservation systems to improve water quality, enhance wildlife habitat, and restore wetlands. Since MRBI's start in 2009, NRCS has worked with more than 600 partners and 5,000 farmers to make conservation improvements on more than 1 million acres in the region.
Through these partnerships, the initiative more than quadrupled the number of contracts addressing water quality concerns in targeted project areas. NRCS will invest $30 million per year over the next three years, as part of a $100 million commitment from the 2014 Farm Bill.
New projects in Minnesota include:
-Cedar Island Lake watershed, Stearns County; partners, SWCD, DNR, Watershed District, MPCA/TMDL monitoring, UMES
-Chippewa River watershed, Douglas County; partners, CRWP, Douglas SWCD, Douglas County, Lake Associations, MPCA, DNR
-Headwaters South Branch Root River watershed, Fillmore and Mower counties; partners, SWCD, MDA, TNC, MAWRC, Monsanto
-Rose Creeks watershed, Mower County; partners, SWCD, Cedar River Watershed District
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