If you missed the chance to take advantage of the Shell Creek Watershed Improvement Group Project cost-share incentives, you have one more opportunity to do so.
Up to now, different priority areas in the watershed were open to cost-sharing for best management practices to reduce erosion, improve soil health and improve water quality.
The watershed has been prone to extensive soil and water runoff from heavy spring and summer rains, but the Shell Creek Improvement Project has made progress in stemming some of the runoff through producer adoption of conservation practices.
Beginning this year, the entire Shell Creek Watershed area will be open for one year for applications from landowners/operators wanting to participate in the incentive programs.
"Don't miss out on a great opportunity to sign up Shell Creek Watershed Improvement Group cost-sharing and extra incentive funds," says Melissa Foreman at the USDA Service Center in Columbus. "The funds are being provided to assist landowners and operators in use of practices that improve soil health, reduce flooding and restore water quality."
A few of the best management practices are no-till crop production, use of cover crops, well decommissioning, filter and buffer strips, grassed waterways and field structures. The list of eligible practices is available on line at www.shellcreek.org. If you have questions, submit them online on the "contact page" or contact your local NRCS office.
The Shell Creek Watershed Management Plan was developed with the following objectives:
- Improve water quality.
- Educate landowners, agricultural producers, and others on the importance of watershed stewardship.
- Improve available economic incentives to watershed landowners and operators.
- Coordinate efforts to reduce flooding and manage runoff.
- Coordinate efforts and create opportunities to reinstate and/or establish land into CRP or other similar programs.
- Coordinate efforts and create opportunities to establish water control structures.
- Coordinate efforts to improve surface water and ground water quality.
The Shell Creek Watershed Improvement Group is a locally led effort started in 1999. The watershed is located in the east-central part of Nebraska and includes northeast Boone County, southwest Madison County, northwest and central Platte County and western and southern Colfax County. It encompasses more than 300,000 acres, drains a 465-square- mile area and is a major tributary of the lower Platte River. From beginning to end, it winds and branches its way diagonally across the four-county area and reaches a length of more than 110 miles.
For more information, call 402-5564-0506.