State Conservationist Ivan Dozier recently announced the continuation of the National Water Quality Initiative in Illinois for fiscal year 2014.
USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service will manage the initiative by making financial and technical assistance available to farmers and forest landowners to improve water quality in priority watersheds. The National Water Quality Initiative was offered in three impaired Illinois watersheds starting in 2012 and then in 2013, two additional watersheds were added in Vermilion County.
Now, applications will be accepted in all five watersheds in 2014. Illinois farmers and forest landowners in the watersheds have until February 21 to submit an application for the National Water Quality Initiative first application cutoff.
•Douglas Creek Watershed - 14,300 acres in St. Clair County
•Crooked Creek-Bon Pas Watershed - 33,266 acres in parts of Richland, Wabash, Edwards, & •Lawrence Counties
•Lake Vermilion Watershed - 17,656 acres in Vermilion County
•Lake De Revey Watershed – 19,168 acres in Vermilion County
•Painter Creek Watershed – 22,775 acres in Vermilion County
The priority watersheds cover more than 107,000 acres and all five watersheds have been identified as impaired with degraded water quality issues. Eligible producers with concerns such as soil erosion and water quality can apply for funds from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program for implementing conservation practices such as cover crops, grassed waterways, terraces, and water and sediment control basins.
While NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis, three application cutoffs will be held for the National Water Quality Initiative in Illinois. The first cutoff is on February 21, 2014, a second application cutoff on March 21, 2014 and if funds allow, a third on April 18, 2014.
To apply, eligible producers should contact their local NRCS Field Office. For more information about the National Water Quality Initiative and NRCS' programs, initiatives and services in Illinois, visit us online at www.il.nrcs.usda.gov.
Source: USDA NRCS