April 10, 2015
On April 7, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack awarded $10 million through the Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI) for 27 new conservation projects, each located in a watershed new to the Initiative, as well as 13 ongoing projects that have previously received MRBI funding. These new awards build upon $18.5 million that was invested through MRBI earlier in the fiscal year.
MRBI is a targeted conservation effort aimed at preventing the flow of nutrients and sediment from farms into the waterways that feed the Mississippi River. Recent research on the Upper Mississippi River Basin and Lower Mississippi River Basin has suggested that the Initiative, along with the underlying conservation programs that fund farmers participating in the MRBI, does improve water quality in streams across the basin.
Financial and technical assistance for the farmers enrolled in MRBI projects comes from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Projects within the MRBI operate as partnerships between farmers, USDA, and other entities, such as non-profit organizations, state and local agencies, and conservation districts.
The new funding was awarded for projects in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. You can download a full list of MRBI projects here.