The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 2, 2013

NWQI aid available


Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — John Mueller, acting state conservationist, has announced the continuation of the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) in Oklahoma.

NWQI is committed to improving water quality in selected impaired waterways in Oklahoma. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will manage the initiative by making funds available to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in four watersheds.

“The Water Quality Initiative will further NRCS’ partnership efforts to improve water quality using voluntary actions on private lands,” Mueller said. “This initiative is a focused approach in areas facing significant natural resource challenges. It bolsters the positive results of landscape conservation initiatives NRCS and its partners already have under way.”

Through this effort, eligible producers in selected portions of Panther Creek-Red Rock Creek and Lower Cimarron-Skeleton Creek watersheds will invest in voluntary conservation actions to help provide cleaner water for their neighbors and communities. The selected watersheds were identified with help from state agencies, partners and the NRCS State Technical Committee.

Using funds from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, NRCS will provide financial assistance and technical advice to producers to install conservation practices such as grade stabilization structures, cover crops, filter strips and prescribed grazing in watersheds with impairments.

The watersheds selected for Oklahoma include portions of Sand Creek and Turkey Creek in Garfield County, as well as portions of Panther Creek and Oak Creek in Noble, Pawnee, and Payne counties. These watersheds are all on the list of impaired waters in Oklahoma. Sediment, nutrient and pathogen deposition have contributed to this impairment in the past and this initiative will encourage practices which should reduce agricultural contributions to this impairment.

NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year, however, only those applications received by March 15 will be considered for funding at this time. NRCS will notify all applicants of the results and begin developing contracts with selected applicants this spring.

For more information about NRCS’ programs, initiatives and services in Oklahoma, visit us online at http://www.ok.nrcs.usda.gov/.