USDA funding to improve water quality in Grand Lake St. Marys Watershed

LEWIS CENTER, Ohio — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced the availability of $1 million for producers in the Grand Lake St. Marys Watershed to apply conservation measures that will benefit water quality in Grand Lake St. Marys.

The funding will be provided to agricultural producers through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program administered by the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service

In the past two years, $2.5 million has been allocated through EQIP for producers in the watershed to implement conservation measures that reduce soil erosion and the amount of nutrients potentially entering waterways.

Focus

The Grand Lake St. Marys Watershed located in Mercer and Auglaize Counties has been a major focus for NRCS and other conservation agencies due to the development of harmful algal blooms in Grand Lake. Farming operations have the potential to deliver sediment and nutrients to the lake, which plays a part in the growth of the algae.

Reducing nutrients entering the lake should result in a decrease in the amount of algal growth in Grand Lake St. Marys.

This special EQIP sign-up will focus on providing winter cover on agricultural land receiving manure in the fall of 2010 and also for land with low crop residue to reduce soil erosion. The NRCS field offices in Mercer and Auglaize Counties will be taking applications immediately and continue taking applications until the funding is exhausted.

Monitoring

In addition to the EQIP funds for producers, a second monitoring station will be placed in the watershed. Data collected from the two stations in the watershed will provide benchmark data and track long-term improvements resulting from the improved conservation measures being implemented by producers

For more information or to apply for this EQIP sign-up, call 419-586-2548, ext. 245 (Mercer County producers) or 419-738-4016 (Auglaize County producers).

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