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Agricultural News

Big Conservation Push to Fund Water Quality Improvement in Eucha-Spavinaw and Illinois River Watersheds

Fri, 29 Oct 2010 6:31:39 CDT

Big Conservation Push to Fund Water Quality Improvement in Eucha-Spavinaw and Illinois River Watersheds USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Dave White announced Thursday that Arkansas will receive $3 million and Oklahoma will receive $725,000 in additional cost-share assistance for fiscal year 2011 (the current fiscal year that began October first) to accelerate implementation of conservation practices for improving water quality in the Illinois River Sub-Basin and the Eucha-Spavinaw Lake Watershed in northwestern Arkansas and northeastern Oklahoma. Arkansas NRCS State Conservationist Michael E. Sullivan and Oklahoma NRCS State Conservationist Ron L. Hilliard joined Chief White for the announcement.

“The funding for this project will assist landowners on 1.32 million acres in the impacted area,” said Chief White. “This initiative is expected to be funded over an eight-year period through 2018. The total amount of additional financial assistance available over the life of the project could be $38 million. The project will be implemented working with our conservation partners to accelerate conservation treatment and expand their capacity to improve water quality and maintain productivity throughout the basin and watershed.”

Click on the LISTEN BAR below for an audio overview of this announcement with comments from Dave White, as well as from Mike Thralls of the Oklahoma Conversation Commission. Our Thanks to Stewart Doan of Agri-Pulse who covered that announced and got the audio comments to us.

The targeted area for the special project initiative is located within portions of the Arkansas counties of Benton and Washington, plus portions of the Oklahoma counties of Adair, Cherokee, Delaware, Mayes and Sequoyah. The area includes 576,517 acres in Arkansas and 739,156 acres in Oklahoma.

The Eucha-Spavinaw Lake Watershed in Arkansas has been designated as a nutrient surplus area. NRCS and its conservation partners plan to further treat and reduce water quality resource concerns through conservation practices which will avoid, control and trap nutrients and sediments.

“Our agency is working to increase the use of conservation systems to encourage other practices which will greatly benefit water quality in the area,” White said. “Water quality enhancement is crucial to ensuring an adequate supply of drinkable water for the municipalities and individuals who rely on these water resources for their water supply. Additionally, improving water quality will benefit recreational industries since the Illinois River is a designated Scenic River.”

Conservation practices that will help producers maintain productivity and also benefit the environment will be installed on a voluntary basis in the targeted project area. These practices will include prescribed grazing, animal manure treatment, access control, watering facilities, and others which will enable landowners to increase both water quality in the area and farm profitability.

Participants installing practices through the initiative are eligible for a 75 percent cost-share with historically underserved participants eligible for a 90 percent cost-share.

Interested producers should contact their local USDA Service Center for additional information. Click here to view a map of the area impacted by this special emphasis of EQIP Money from NRCS.


Ron Hays provides this audio overview of the announcement.
right-click to download mp3


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