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USDA NRCS National Water Quality Initiative

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Liza C. Moore
Foster Swift Agricultural Law Update
May 2012

On May 8, 2012, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Dave White announced a new National Water Quality Initiative. The Initiative identified priority watersheds nationwide. Farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners in those watersheds may be eligible for assistance in installing conservation practices such as cover crops, filter strips, and terraces. Two of the 157 watersheds identified are in Michigan. Areas near the Upper Maple River in Clinton County and Kalamazoo River in Calhoun County were identified as priority watersheds. "The National Water Quality Initiative signifies a bold step by USDA to improve water quality in some very challenging watersheds," Vilsack said. "American farmers are good stewards of the environment, and this initiative provides them with additional tools to protect and improve fish and wildlife habitat and water quality." All eligible applications must be submitted by June 15, 2012 to be considered for this fiscal year’s funding opportunity.