CELINA, Ohio — The Natural Resources Conservation Service has $1 million available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help improve the water quality of Grand Lake St. Marys.
A special Environmental Quality Incentives Program Demonstration Project, initiated last year, will be offered again this year for farmers in the Grand Lake St. Marys Watershed.
Through this program, farmers in portions of Auglaize and Mercer counties will be eligible to receive financial and technical assistance to implement conservation practices aimed at keeping nutrients and organic material out of area water supplies.
The sign-up period runs through June 26.
Practices. This year, the conservation practices that are available in this project have been expanded to offer more ways farmers can manage their land to keep nutrients and sediment on the land and out of the lake.
Conservation practices such as buffer strips along creeks running into Grand Lake St. Marys, and the planting of cover crops will be offered, along with manure management options.
The conservation service will provide cost incentives to cover a majority of the conservation practice costs, with the remaining covered by participating farmers, who must meet eligibility requirements established by the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
Funding for this program was authorized in the 2008 farm bill. The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service makes the final decision on how these dollars are spent.
For more information contact Steve McDevitt in Auglaize County at 419-738-4016 or Jim Will in Mercer County at 419-586-2548.