Jane Hardisty, State Conservationist for Indiana’s USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced today that NRCS is accepting applications from now until March 18 for funding to improve water quality in several watersheds in northern Indiana.
NRCS is investing dollars through the Regional Conservation Partnership Project (RCPP) in the Western Lake Erie Basin and St. Joseph River watersheds that will help improve water quality and strengthen agricultural operations. Funding for these RCPP watersheds comes from the Farm Bill’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). “We are working with local and state partners to encourage farmers to put in conservation practices in these targeted watersheds that will address water quality concerns and help improve soil health and agricultural production,” Hardisty said. “By targeting dollars to these geographic areas we can make a greater impact on the health of our streams and rivers, and ultimately the Great Lakes.”
RCPP helps eligible producers adopt conservation practices, such as no-till, nutrient management, cover crops and others to improve water quality. Conservation systems implemented in these areas will reduce the amount of nutrients flowing from agricultural land into waterways, curb erosion and improve the resiliency of working lands in the face of droughts and floods.
“These conservation practices will help clean and conserve water, make agricultural operations more resilient and stimulate rural economies,” said Hardisty.
Farmers in the following watersheds are eligible for funding:
Western Lake Erie Basin
Land in the entire Western Lake Erie Basin is eligible for EQIP RCPP funding, including land in Steuben, Noble, Dekalb, Allen, Wells and Adams counties. Five subwatersheds in the Western Lake Erie Basin watershed will be targeted as high priority: Trier Ditch, Black Creek, Marsh Ditch-Maumee River, Nickelsen Creek and Blue Creek. The Trier Ditch, Black Creek and Marsh Ditch-Maumee River watersheds lie solely within Allen County. The Nickelsen Creek watershed lies within portions of Adams, Wells and Allen County. The Blue Creek Watershed resides totally within Adams County.
St. Joseph River Watershed
Funding will be targeted in seven counties in northern Indiana including: St. Joseph, Elkhart, Kosciusko, Lagrange, Noble, Steuben and DeKalb. Priority areas within these counties will be determined by a priority ranking based on natural resource concerns.
All applications for funding consideration must be received by March 18, 2016.