(NASHVILLE)”” USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Dave White announced the Agency will fund conservation projects in 41 eligible watersheds in 12 states that will help landowners and producers within the Mississippi River Basin voluntarily implement conservation and management practices that prevent, control and trap nutrient runoff from agricultural land.
“NRCS is working hard to improve the health of the Mississippi River Basin,” said White. “This funding will help producers further implement a system of conservation practices that will reduce erosion, improve water and soil quality, and provide wildlife habitat.”
Under the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI), NRCS will provide up to $43 million in financial assistance through conservation programs to support more than 70 existing projects in the following states: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana,
Missouri, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Tennessee will receive a total of $529,000 for projects in the Forked Deer, South Fork Obion, Obion, and Red River watersheds. Partner organizations participating in the initiative will contribute additional financial resources.
Kevin Brown, State Conservationist for NRCS in Tennessee, says that this funding will allow landowners and producers in Tennessee to enhance the quality of their own land while also improving the health of the Mississippi River Basin as a whole.
“This initiative presents a unique opportunity to work directly with landowners in the Mississippi River Basin to implement important conservation measures through a systems approach.” said Brown. “By using multiple practices to avoid, control, and trap nutrient runoff, our efforts will grow exponentially to benefit the entire River Basin.”
The MRBI will assist NRCS and its conservation partners in expanding their capacity to improve water quality and treat other natural resource concerns throughout the Mississippi River basin. In addition to avoiding, controlling and trapping nutrient runoff, participating farmers and landowners voluntarily implement conservation practices that improve wildlife habitat; restore wetlands; and maintain agricultural productivity. These conservation practices are carried out in a site-specific manner to create a system that addresses natural resource concerns and fits within the operational needs of the farm.
Key conservation practices include nutrient management, conservation crop rotation and residue and tillage management. Farmers and landowners can also use other conservation practices such as restoring wetlands, planting trees along streams to filter nutrients out of water draining off the
farm, and drainage water management. Participants can also use financial assistance to install edge-of-field monitoring systems in specific locations within the selected watersheds.
NRCS is celebrating 75 years of helping people help the land in 2010. Since 1935, the NRCS conservation delivery system has advanced a unique partnership with state and local governments and private landowners delivering conservation based on specific, local conservation needs, while accommodating state and national interests.
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To learn more about USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, visit your nearest USDA Farm Service Center, or go to www.tn.nrcs.usda.gov for more information. NRCS is an equal opportunity provider and employer.