Jane Hardisty, State Conservationist for Indiana’s USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced today that NRCS is accepting applications until March 20 to be considered for funding to improve four impaired watersheds in Indiana. This is a second round of the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) for three previously announced watersheds: Eagle Creek, Silver Creek and Ell Creek. Indiana has also announced an additional NWQI watershed, Beargrass Creek, for the March 20 application period.
Through NWQI, eligible producers in the four Indiana watersheds will invest in voluntary conservation actions to help provide cleaner water for their communities. The selected watersheds were identified with help from state agencies, partners, and the NRCS State Technical Committee. All four watersheds are included on the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s 303(d) impaired water body list due to pollution from excess nutrients and all three watersheds include significant acres of land that have been classified by NRCS as highly erodible.
“Water quality conservation practices benefit agricultural producers by lowering input costs and enhancing the productivity of working lands,” said Hardisty. “Conservation investments are good for everyone because well managed farms limit pollution from runoff, produce food and fiber, sustain rural economies, and provide food security to the Nation.”
The Silver Creek watershed is located within the larger Eel watershed and lies within portions of Fulton, Kosciusko, Miami, and Wabash counties in north central Indiana. The Beargrass Creek watershed is also located within the larger Eel watershed but falls only within Wabash County. The Ell Creek watershed is located within the larger Patoka watershed and lies solely within Dubois County in southwestern Indiana. The Eagle Creek watershed is located within the larger Upper White River watershed and lies within portions of Boone, Hendricks and Marion counties in central Indiana.
“The collaborative goal is to ensure people and wildlife have clean, safe water,” said Hardisty. “Water quality improvement takes time, but by working together and leveraging our technical and financial assistance, we are better able to help farmers and ranchers take voluntary actions in improving water quality while maintaining or improving agricultural productivity.”
Eligible landowners will receive assistance under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for installing conservation systems that help avoid, trap and control run-off in these high-priority watersheds. Practices include nutrient management, cover crops, conservation cropping systems, filter strips, and others.
All applications for funding consideration, during this fiscal year, must be received by March 20, 2015. Remember to check with your local NRCS office www.in.nrcs.usda.gov/contact/directory/field_offices.html to see if you are located in a selected watershed. For more information about NRCS’ programs, initiatives and services in Indiana, visit us online at www.in.nrcs.usda.gov.