Water quality initiatives are popular with USDA these days. After a significant national program announced to upgrade smaller projects across the country, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $32 million in financial support and assistance for five water water quality and wetlands improvement projects in seven Mississippi River Basin states.
"These projects are great examples of USDA working with partners to improve water quality in the Mississippi River Basin," Vilsack said. "Through these projects, agricultural producers are voluntarily taking action to restore and protect wetlands on private lands in watersheds that USDA has identified as being critical to water quality restoration in the basin."
Here's a look at the programs that will be sponsored:
Boeuf River Watershed
NRCS and Partner Funding: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission $2,178,316
NRCS and Partner Funding: Craighead County Conservation District $214,748
Cache River and Lower Whit-Bayou Des Arc wetlands restoration
NRCS and Partner Funding: The Nature Conservancy $3,030,000
Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee
Lower Mississippi River Batture hardwood forest and wetlands restoration
NRCS and Partner Funding: Mississippi River Trust $20,231,933
North Raccoon River Wetland Initiative
NRCS and Partner Funding: Iowa Department of Natural Resources $6,183,000
NRCS provides funding for these new projects through its Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP), part of the agency's Wetlands Reserve Program. Since 2010, NRCS has formalized WREP agreements under MRBI with 47 landowners in the Mississippi River Basin, investing $17.8 million in long-term conservation easements and wetland restoration projects. Learn more about the WREP at http://go.usa.gov/m24 and find out about other NRCS programs and initiatives at http://go.usa.gov/m22.