COLUMBUS, Ohio — The deadline is Jan. 15 for a number of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service programs in Ohio focusing on efforts related to water quality, grazing, woodlands, high tunnels and new farmers in various parts of the state. For those who could benefit from the assistance, the time to act is now.
Shelby County SWCD Partner with USDA, Improve Water Quality in Priority Watersheds
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced priority watersheds for 2021 including Loramie Creek Watershed. Ohio producers in this targeted watershed will receive focused financial and technical resources through NRCSOhio Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI).
MRBI promotes the use of key conservation practices, such as nutrient management, cover crops, animal waste storage structures, and tillage management, to address critical water quality concerns of the region. These practices optimize nitrogen and phosphorus use efficiency in agricultural fields and minimize runoff while improving soil health. The impact of these practices reduces nutrient loading in local water bodies, and eventually, the Gulf of Mexico.
“Farmers recognize the importance of water quality,” said State Conservationist for Ohio Terry Cosby. “These voluntary initiatives provide them with the tools to implement and accelerate on-farm conservation practices to improve the watershed. Local partnerships, like the one that Ohio NRCS has fostered with the area SWCDs, are invaluable in getting farmers the resources they need to deliver the greatest benefits for clean water.”
Ohio MRBI Project: Headwaters Loramie Creek Watershed
Ohio NRCS and Shelby Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) will utilize funds to implement core water quality practices including:
- Sheet, Rill and Gulley Erosion Control
- Wetlands, Drainage Water Management
- Cover Crops
- 4R Nutrient Management
- Grazing Management
Participating in MRBI
Individuals interested in applying for MRBI should contact their local NRCS conservationist as soon as possible. Be sure to check the status of your Service Center when you reach out to us. For offices with restrictions on in-person appointments, we are still available by phone, email, and through other digital tools. Your Service Center’s status is available at https://www.farmers.gov/coronavirus/service-center-status.
Applications signed and submitted to NRCS by the January 15 deadline will be evaluated for fiscal year 2021 funding. Visit Ohio NRCS website under “EQIP Funding Categories” for more details. To learn more about EQIP or other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS conservation programs, visit Get Started with NRCS or contact your local USDA Service Center.
Improve Water Quality and Wildlife Habitat in Clear Creek Watershed
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will offer an opportunity for agricultural producers and landowners to improve water quality and improve wildlife habitat with the Clear Creek Water Quality and Wildlife Habitat Initiative. Application deadline for Ohio NRCS FY21 funding consideration is January 15, 2021.
Water and soil quality are of primary concern in the Clear Creek Watershed with over half of the watershed in agricultural land use. NRCS conservation professionals and partners will provide technical assistance to help farmers or landowners determine which conservation actions will provide the greatest environmental benefits. Effective conservation measures provide farmers with an arsenal of ways to keep nutrients in their fields and out of lakes and streams. Utilizing effective nutrient management will help reduce nutrients and sediment from entering Clear Creek Watershed while cover crops keep the ground covered to prevent soil erosion, trap nutrients, and improve soil health.
Conservation cover, cover crops, grassed waterways, and critical area seedings are just a few of the conservation practices available with this special project. Each will help to improve water and soil quality as well as address the loss of quail population and the need for wildlife habitat. Grassed waterways filter and reduce erosion by slowing and diverting runoff as well as providing habitat for ground nesting birds. While cover crops are an important measure to improve water quality and soil health, they also provide much need extra forage and habitat for reduced quail populations and other wildlife during cold winter months.