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Local News

April 30, 2013

NRCS improves watersheds

DES MOINES — State conservationist Jay Mar Monday announced additional funding for an initiative to improve water quality in four selected Iowa watersheds.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will make financial assistance available this year to help farmers and forestland owners install conservation practices that manage nutrients, pathogens and sediments. Funding comes through the agency’s National Water Quality Initiative.

Iowa’s NWQI watersheds include:

· Badger Creek (sections of Madison, Dallas and Warren counties)

· Lost Branch-Chariton River (sections of Wayne and Lucas counties)

· Lower South Fork Chariton River (sections of Appanoose and Wayne counties)

· Wall Lake Inlet/Black Hawk Lake (sections of Sac and Carroll counties)

NRCS worked closely with partners to select the priority watersheds. State agencies, key partners and technical experts chose the four watersheds, where on-farm conservation investments have the best chance to improve water quality.

Eligible producers will receive assistance for installing practices such as nutrient management, cover crops, conservation cropping systems, filter strips, terraces, and in some cases, edge-of-field water quality monitoring.

Mar says NRCS is also piloting its new Water Quality Index for Agricultural Runoff through this water quality initiative. “The tool will help landowners determine how alternative conservation systems will impact water quality improvement,” he said.

Additionally, state water quality agencies and other partners will do in-stream and watershed-level monitoring to track water quality improvements in many of the project watersheds.

NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year. Visit your local NRCS office for more information or go online, www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov.

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