Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist Lisa R. Coverdale announced the sign-up period for the National Water Quality Initiative, which commits to improving one impaired waterway in the state of Connecticut. The agency will manage the initiative by making funds available to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in selected watersheds.
"The Water Quality Initiative will further NRCS' partnership efforts to improve water quality using voluntary actions on private lands," Coverdale said. "This initiative is a focused approach in areas facing significant natural resource challenges. It bolsters the positive results of landscape conservation initiatives NRCS and its partners already have under way."
Through this effort, eligible producers in the Little River Watershed will invest in voluntary conservation actions to help provide cleaner water for their neighbors and communities. This watershed was identified with help from state agencies, partners, and the NRCS State Technical Committee.
Using funds from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, NRCS will provide funding and advise producers to install conservation practices such as cover crops, filter strips, and animal waste storage structures in watersheds with impairments where the federal investment can make a difference to improve water quality.
"American farmers are good stewards of the environment, especially when they have the tools they need to protect or improve fish and wildlife habitat and water quality," said Coverdale. "We look forward to collaborating with producers in key watersheds to help them have a positive impact on streams with impaired water quality."
The Little River Watershed is a public water supply serving approximately 7,250 residents in the towns of Putnam and Woodstock. The watershed covers 39 square miles, and includes two water body segments listed by the state of Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection as impaired by bacteria and nutrients.
NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year. If you are not sure, contact the Danielson Field Office at 860-779-0557 to see if you are located in the Little River Watershed. All applications for funding consideration during this fiscal year must be received by April 19, 2013. This summer, NRCS will notify all applicants of the results and begin developing contracts with selected applicants.
For more information about NRCS programs, initiatives and services in Connecticut, visit www.ct.nrcs.usda.gov/programs