April 30, 2010
The Environmental Protection Agency has provided USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) with $34 million to provide additional FY2010 funding to Farm Bill conservation programs in selected watersheds of the eight Great Lake states. The funding is provided under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a collaboration of federal agencies, state and local governments, tribes, businesses, environmental organizations and others to restore and protect the Lakes. The Initiative includes an Action Plan that will help the U.S. achieve its obligations under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, an international agreement between the U.S. and Canada.
The NRCS funding targets selected watersheds included in Lakewide Management Plans, which are plans of action to assess, restore, protect and monitor Great Lake ecosystem health. Management Plans coordinate the work of all the government, tribal, and non-government partners working to improve the lake ecosystem.
The largest portion of the NRCS Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding for FY2010 is targeted to the Saginaw and Maumee River watersheds and other watersheds in Michigan and the Maumee River watershed in Ohio. The Fox-Green Bay River watersheds in Wisconsin and the Genessee River watershed in New York will also have significant funding available, with smaller amounts of funding for watersheds in Indiana, Pennsylvania and Illinois.
The funding has been allocated to by NRCS to conservation technical assistance, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, the Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program, and the Emergency Watershed Program’s Flood Plain Easements. It will be used to fund practices and easements that will address goals of the Initiative to control invasive species, increase near shore health, reduce nonpoint source agricultural pollution, and restore and protect wetland habitat.
From June 1 to July 1, 2010, NRCS State Conservationists in the Great Lake states will be taking applications from farmers and others to fund selected practices and easements under the conservation programs that can help achieve the goals of the Lakewide Management Plans for the targeted watersheds. For additional information on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, contact your NRCS State Conservationist Office or the NRCS Great Lakes Coordinator Vicki Anderson at Vicki.Anderson@mi.usda.gov or by phone at 517-324-5158.
Categories: Conservation, Energy & Environment