INDIANAPOLIS — Dan Hovland, acting state conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Indiana has announced that applications are being accepted to improve water quality in the Big Pine Creek watershed located in northwest Indiana.
Dollars are available for farmers through the Big Pine Creek Watershed Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The Big Pine Creek watershed covers almost 210,000 acres in northwestern Indiana including portions of Benton, White, Warren and Tippecanoe counties. The partnership is working with farmers in the area to increase the number of nutrient and sediment reducing practices on cropland.
While applications are accepted year-round, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by Jan. 20, 2023 to be considered for the current funding period. Applications received after Jan. 20 will automatically be considered during the next funding cycle.
The Big Pine Creek RCPP is focusing its conservation efforts on soil health practices such as planting cover crops and nutrient management, which included managing the amount, source, placement and timing of plant nutrients and soil amendments. Conservation practices like these reduce the amount of nutrients lost from farm fields into waterways, curbs erosion and improve the resiliency of agricultural lands during times of extreme weather.
“The Big Pine Creek RCPP project enables NRCS to invest targeted dollars to address water quality concerns caused by nutrient and sediment runoff from farms in the watershed,” Hovland said. “We know conservation practices such as nutrient management plans, cover crops and transitioning to no-till farming can address these issues. By working together with our partners through this project we will be able to help farmers implement these practices and more in order to help them help the land.”
RCPP is a partner-led program, with NRCS directing technical and financial assistance to priorities identified by partners. Led by The Nature Conservancy, additional partners involved in Indiana’s Big Pine Creek watershed project include Ceres Solutions, Land O’ Lakes Truterra, Benton, Warren, Tippecanoe, and White County Soil and Water Conservation Districts and NRCS.
“The Regional Conservation Partnership Program enables public, private and non-profit organizations to working together to address natural resource concerns at the landscape scale. This project is a great example of our joint efforts accomplishing more than any of us could alone,” Hovland said. “The group found great success during the first iteration of this project and has committed to investing additional time and financial resources into continue making a lasting positive impact.”
While applications are accepted on a continuous basis, all applications for this round of funding consideration must be received by Jan. 20, 2023.
To learn more about RCPP in Indiana, visit: www.nrcs.usda.gov/Indiana/RCPP.
For more information about NRCS and other technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted or contact your District Conservationist by visiting www.Farmers.gov/service-locator.
— USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service