COLUMBUS — More than $2.5 million is available to agricultural producers and landowners to improve and protect the waters and resources in portions of the Great Lakes Basin, said Michelle Lohstroh, Acting State Conservationist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Applications to install specific conservation practices through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will be accepted for priority ranking through July 1.
Interested landowners should contact their local U.S. Department of Agriculture office before July 1 to apply. Funding provided through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) will be directed at reducing phosphorus loading in specific watersheds in Ohio.
The Maumee River (Upper Blanchard) Watershed is the Ohio priority watershed, which includes portions of: Allen, Hancock, Hardin, Putnam, Seneca and Wyandot Counties.
NRCS specialists provide farmers with technical assistance to help determine the best conservation practices to improve and protect the resources on their land.
“The GLRI is a multi-agency group working together to improve and protect the waters of the Great Lakes Basin,” said Lohstroh. “NRCS is proud to be able to work with farmers and landowners on private lands who are doing their part to improve the resources.”
Reducing water degradation
This year, GLRI focuses on practices that have the highest benefit for reducing water quality degradation due to agricultural runoff. Examples of these practices include waste storage facilities, residue management, no-till, nutrient management, tree planting, wetland creation and drainage water management, among others.
“The farmers and landowners who come to us for help are really the ones that deserve the credit,” said Lohstroh. “We provide them with information on the scientifically-proven practices and where best to use them, as well as funding to help pay for them, but it’s their land and they make the decisions.”