USDA seeks new priority watersheds for the Mississippi River Basin Initiative and National Water Quality Initiative

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For Immediate Release

July 15, 2019

Contact: Becky Fletcher, State Public Affairs Officer

Phone: 317-295-5825

Email: rebecca.fletcher@in.usda.gov

USDA seeks new priority watersheds for the Mississippi River Basin Initiative and National Water Quality Initiative

Jerry Raynor, State Conservationist for Indiana’s USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced today they are accepting proposals to designate new priority watersheds for the Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI) and National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI).

 

Known as “America’s River,” the Mississippi River is North America’s largest river, flowing over 2,300 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. The watershed not only provides drinking water, food, industry, and recreation for more than 18 million people, it also hosts a globally significant migratory flyway and home for over 325 bird species.  Through MRBI, NRCS and its partners work with producers and landowners to implement voluntary conservation practices that improve water quality, restore wetlands, enhance wildlife habitat and sustain agricultural profitability in the Mississippi River Basin.  New priority watershed proposals should address these resource concerns and align with state nutrient loss reduction strategies.

 

NWQI is a joint initiative between NRCS and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address agricultural sources of water pollution, specifically nutrients, sediment and pathogens in priority watersheds.  This strategic approach leverages funds and provides streamlined assistance to help individual agricultural producers take needed actions in impaired watersheds.  New priority watershed proposals should address these resource concerns.

 

“Indiana NRCS is proud to be involved in statewide efforts to improve and protect our water resources. These new priority watersheds will allow landowners and farmers to receive conservation payments to work on the land in a sustainable way which provides cleaner water while keeping their land productive,” said Raynor. 

 

Both MRBI and NWQI project proposals must have a watershed assessment for the new priority watershed(s) that meets NRCS guidelines and targets efforts at the 12-digit hydrologic unit code (HUC) level.  Applicants can apply for funding to complete a watershed assessment before applying for implementation funding.  Eligible partners including local and state agencies, conservation districts, nongovernmental organizations should submit proposals to Indiana NRCS by September 20. 

 

Interested partners should contact Jill Reinhart (jill.reinhart@usda.gov) for watershed assessment guidelines.  To learn more about MRBI or NWQI in Indiana, visit  https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/in/programs/financial/eqip/.

 

For more information about NRCS and other technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted or contact your district conservationist http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/in/contact/local/.