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Three watersheds in the Root River eligible to receive almost $2 million in cost-share funds

Fri, Jul 30th, 2010
Posted in Business Announcements

Almost $2 million of financial assistance for federal fiscal year 2010 is now available for a limited time for projects in Rush-Pine creek watershed in Fillmore, Houston, and Winona counties and for Watson Creek watershed and the Upper South Fork of the Root River/Wisel Creek watershed in Fillmore County. The Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative funds (CCPI) were awarded under the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI). Over $1 million in funding for the Rush-Pine watershed was awarded to the Hiawatha Valley Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) and its partners. This watershed drains about 80,000 acres upstream from the cities of Rushford and Rushford Village. Over $750,000 in funding for the Watson and Upper South Fork/Wisel projects was awarded to the Fillmore Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). Watson Creek watershed drains about 22,000 acres between Wykoff and Fountain. The Upper South Fork/Watson watershed drains about 49,000 acres between Harmony and Mabel.

Agronomic practices such as cover crops, no till, nutrient management, contour farming, buffer strips and prescribed grazing as well as constructed practices such as grass waterways, terraces, and animal waste facilities are eligible for cost share assistance. A full list of all eligible practices is available by contacting the NRCS or SWCD offices in Caledonia, Lewiston and Preston, Minnesota.

To find out if you qualify for these incentives, or for more information please call your local NRCS/SWCD office:

•Fillmore NRCS/SWCD (507)-765-3878, 900 Washington St. NW, Preston, MN 55965

•Root River NRCS/SWCD (507)-724-5261 ext. 3, 805 N. Hwy. 44/76 Suite 1, Caledonia, MN 55921

•Winona NRCS/SWCD (507)-523-2171 ext. 3, 400 Wilson St., Lewiston, MN 55952

These offices are taking signups for this assistance through August 24, 2010. All land users are encouraged to call or stop by their local office as soon as possible to find out more about these special program incentives and to sign up for this cost-share program.

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and local partners will provide technical assistance and financial assistance to those eligible in these watersheds. The partners include The Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, Fillmore SWCD, Houston SWCD, Winona SWCD and many others.

All the partners are working aggressively to improve the health of the Root River and Mississippi River Basins. The funding will help producers implement a system of conservation practices that will control soil erosion, reduce nutrient runoff, improve soil quality, and provide wildlife habitat.

Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) funds will be administered through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP). Another $1.5 million will be provided in Wetland Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP) funds to establish wetland easement in the Lower Root River watershed. More information on WREP is available from the Root River SWCD and NRCS office in Caledonia.

The MRBI will help NRCS and its partners expand their capacity to improve water quality throughout the basin. CCPI will use a conservation systems approach to manage nitrogen and phosphorous, which will minimize runoff and reduce downstream nutrient loading. WREP will encourage strategic placement of wetland restoration projects.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202-720-6382 (TDD).

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