National water quality initiative offered in three Ohio watersheds

For the seventh consecutive year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will offer an opportunity for agricultural producers in three Ohio watersheds to apply for assistance to install conservation practices that protect water quality through the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI).

NRCS conservation professionals will provide one-on-one personalized advice to help farmers with approved applications to determine which conservation actions will provide the best results to address a broad range of natural resource concerns, including water quality. To help install these conservation practices, NRCS will provide financial assistance to approved applicants through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

WatershedsConservation actions include practices that promote soil health, reduce erosion, and lessen nutrient runoff, such as cover crops, reduced tillage, and nutrient management; waste management systems that treat agricultural waste and livestock manure; and wetland restoration that increases wildlife habitat, mitigates flooding, and improves water quality. These practices not only benefit natural resources, but enhance agricultural productivity and profitability by improving soil health and optimizing the use of agricultural inputs.

“Watershed studies have shown that targeting conservation on vulnerable acres leads to greater water quality improvements,” said Terry Cosby, NRCS State Conservationist in Ohio. “This latest investment focuses on small watersheds where we have opportunities to work with partners and farmers to accelerate conservation efforts and deliver real results for communities downstream.”

NRCS works closely with conservation partners and State water quality agencies to select watersheds where on farm conservation can deliver the greatest benefits for clean water. Ohio has selected the following three watersheds where on-farm conservation investments have the best chance to address resource concerns and improve water quality.

• Brandywine Creek-Broken Sword Creek Watershed (Crawford County)

• Fivemile Creek-East Fork Little Miami River Watershed (Clermont and Brown Counties)

•  East Branch South Fork Sugar Creek Watershed (Tuscarawas and Holmes Counties)

The NWQI application deadline is February 16, 2018.

To learn more about the NWQI or other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS conservation programs, visit Get Started with NRCS or visit a local USDA Service Center.

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