The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced a second round of funding for the National Water Quality Initiative. Agricultural producers in Brown, Clermont, Clinton and Highland counties are eligible to apply for financial and technical assistance to install conservation practices that protect and improve water quality.
Interested producers are encouraged to apply by the June 30, 2022 deadline.
Now in its 11th year, the National Water Quality Initiative is a partnership among NRCS, state water quality agencies and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to identify and address impaired water bodies through voluntary conservation. NRCS provides targeted funding in small watersheds most in need and where farmers can use conservation practices to make a difference.
Selected Ohio watersheds include Glady Creek, Solomon Run and Five Mile Creek, all of which are upstream of William H. Harsha Lake, a vital source of drinking water for more than 50 percent of Clermont County residents.
“The National Water Quality Initiative allows us to work with local partners to provide Ohio famers with needed resources to implement on-farm conservation practices,” said John Wilson, NRCS Ohio State Conservationist. “This approach accelerates the reduction of nutrient and sediment loading, improving water quality locally and further downstream.”
Together, Ohio NRCS and the Brown, Clermont, Clinton, and Highland Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) will utilize funds to help producers implement core water quality practices. Conservation systems include practices that promote soil health, reduce erosion, and lessen nutrient runoff, such as filter strips, cover crops, reduced tillage and manure management. These practices not only benefit natural resources, but enhance agricultural productivity and profitability by improving soil health and optimizing the use of agricultural inputs.
Applicants for the NWQI programs should be farmers, or farm or forest landowners and meet the eligibility criteria. To participate in USDA conservation programs, contact your local Hillsboro NRCSoffice at 937-393-1922 ext. 3 before the June 30 deadline.
Submitted by Pam Bushelman, Highland SWCD district operations manager.