U.S. investing $33 million to improve water quality in 197 watersheds

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced an investment of more than $33 million in 197 high-priority watersheds across the country to help landowners improve water quality through the Natural Resources Conservation Service's (NRCS) National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI).

The NWQI helps farmers and ranchers implement voluntary conservation practices, such as nutrient management, cover crops, conservation cropping systems, filter strips, terraces and buffers, which protect and improve water quality.

The goal of the NWQI is to implement conservation practices within a local area to protect water bodies within priority watersheds.

"USDA is committed to working hand-in-hand with farmers, ranchers, and landowners to address water quality issues and provide the tools necessary to ensure clean, safe water for communities and wildlife," Vilsack said. "This latest investment is yet another example of how voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs are benefiting both producers and our natural resources."

This year, NRCS added 42 new watersheds to the NWQI and selected 21 watersheds for new assessment projects. These assessment watershed projects span 17 states and include a variety of land uses and water quality issues.

NRCS will provide resources for these assessment projects to leverage existing plans, data, and information, and fill gaps needed to complete watershed assessments and develop outreach plans.

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U.S. Department of Agriculture

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