Conservation funding available for Upper Big Walnut Creek

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Buffer strip
A buffer strip near a stream.

DELAWARE, Ohio — Agricultural producers have an incentive to manage their operations with a conservation outlook since their livelihood depends on the quality of the soil and water they use to produce the food, fiber, forage and fuel for the world’s growing population.

The Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has announced new funding available for the Upper Big Walnut Creek Watershed through the Promoting Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Phosphorus Project.

Delaware SWCD and other partners received project funding through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

Restorative use

RCPP is a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) program that encourages partners to join efforts with producers to increase the restoration and sustainable use of soil, water, wildlife and related natural resources.

Through the program, NRCS and its partners help producers install and maintain conservation activities in selected project areas. Technical and financial assistance will be available through NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) to help improve water quality in the Upper Big Walnut Creek Watershed.

This watershed encompasses parts of Delaware, Knox, Licking, and Morrow Counties and drains into Hoover Reservoir, one of the drinking water supplies for the city of Columbus. A special sign-up is open through Jan. 18, for producers in the Upper Big Walnut Creek Watershed who wish to implement phosphorus reducing best management practices.

The RCPP Promoting Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Phosphorus Project is a collaborative effort among Delaware, Knox, Licking and Morrow SWCDs. Additional support comes from the Upper Big Walnut Creek Water Quality Partnership, whose members are focused on improving the water quality of the creek and its tributaries through effective conservation practices, while sustaining profitable agriculture within the watershed.

Agricultural production

EQIP is a voluntary conservation program that helps eligible farmers protect local natural resources while promoting agricultural production. Practices may include cover crops, field borders, filter strips, conservation cover, reduced tillage and residue management, structures for water control, nutrient management, drainage water management, conservation crop rotation, underground outlets for water quality, grass waterways, grade stabilization structures, and amending soil properties with gypsiferous products.

For information on the Upper Big Walnut Creek Watershed and the special EQIP program, contact your local USDA Service Center. Delaware NRCS at 740-362-4011; Knox NRCS at 740-392-7806; Licking at 740-670-5330; and Morrow at 419-946-3755.

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