Indianapolis, IN, November 3, 2023 - Curtis Knueven, Acting State Conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Indiana announced today that NRCS is accepting applications until Dec. 8 to be considered for targeting funding to improve water quality through NRCS’ National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) and the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI).
“By targeting small priority watersheds, we are helping farmers deliver local water quality benefits that contribute to large-scale improvements as a whole,” Knueven said. “Water quality is important to everyone, and the many partnerships created through these initiatives are promising to the future health of these watersheds.”
National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI)
NWQI provides a way to accelerate voluntary, on-farm conservation investments where they can deliver the greatest benefits for clean water. This targeted funding will help eligible farmers adopt conservation practices that will reduce the amount of nutrients flowing from agricultural land into waterways, curb erosion and improve the resiliency of working lands in the face of droughts and floods. Farmers and private forestland owners in the following watersheds may be eligible for funding:
Black River watershed - Posey and Gibson counties
Upper Sinking Blue watershed - Washington County and a small portion in Harrison, Floyd and Clark counties
Muncie Creek White River watershed – Delaware, Randolph and Henry counties
Lake Wawasee Watershed – Noble and Kosciusko counties
Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI)
Known as “America’s River,” the Mississippi River is North America’s largest river, flowing over 2,300 miles through America’s heartland. NRCS has identified the Mississippi River Basin as a top priority due to water quality concerns, primarily related to the effects of nutrient loading on the health of local water bodies and, eventually, the Gulf of Mexico.
MRBI has shown that focused water quality efforts in high priority areas can be effective in building strong partnerships, increasing trust and collaboration with landowners and farmers, and getting more conservation systems on the ground. The initiative has helped increase the adoption of critical water quality conservation practices, such as cover crops, no-till, residue management, grassed waterways and nutrient management by more than 30 percent compared to focus area watersheds with general Farm Bill funding alone. Farmers and private forestland owners in the following watersheds may be eligible for funding:
Big Walnut Creek - Boone, Hendricks, Putnam counties
Treaty Creek Wabash River - Miami and Wabash counties
Lower Salt Creek – Lawrence, Monroe and Jackson counties
Applications for the current funding cycles are being accepted through Dec. 8. While applications are accepted year-round, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by this date to be considered for the current funding period. Applications received after Dec. 8 will automatically be considered during the next funding cycle.
To learn more about MRBI visit: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs-initiatives/mississippi-river-basin-healthy-watersheds-initiative. To learn more about NWQI visit: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs-initiatives/national-water-quality-initiative.
To see if you are eligible for one of these funding opportunities or for more information about NRCS and other technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, contact your local district conservationist: https://www.farmers.gov/working-with-us/service-center-locator.
Curtis Knueven, Acting State Conservationist, 317.295.5801 (email@example.com)
Jerod Chew, Assistant State Conservationist - Partnerships, 317.295.5883 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Kris Vance, State Public Affairs Officer, 317.295.5822 (email@example.com)