National Water Quality Initiative
National Water Quality
Initiative (NWQI) will work in priority watersheds to help farmers, ranchers and
forest landowners improve water quality and aquatic habitats in impaired
Through the NWQI, the
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering financial and
technical assistance to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners interested in
improving water quality and aquatic habitats in priority watersheds with
impaired streams. NRCS will help producers implement conservation and management
practices through a systems approach to control and trap nutrient and manure
runoff. Qualified producers will receive assistance for installing conservation
practices such as cover crops, filter trips and terraces. For over 75 years,
NRCS has provided agricultural producers with assistance to implement voluntary
conservation practices that protect natural resources while maintaining
production and profits.
Ocean Lake Watershed in Fremont County has been approved in Wyoming for
the National Water Quality Initiative. This watershed is listed on the
303(d) list as impaired due to sediment/turbidity.
The reduction of sediment flow from flood irrigated cropland
fields into Ocean Lake is the focus for this initiative. This will be
accomplished by converting existing flood irrigation systems to sprinkler
(center pivot or side-roll) irrigation systems.
installation of a more efficient irrigation system and the implementation of an
irrigation water management plan will result in proper application of water on
these fields. These practices will result in a significant reduction in sediment
flow from these fields into Ocean Lake.
systems with improved irrigation efficiency will reduce waste water flow from
crop fields which in turn will reduce the soil erosion seen in the drains
flowing into Ocean Lake. These drains are typically incised vertical banks,
sparsely vegetated, unstable, earthen ditches. These drains are the main
conveyance of water into Ocean Lake. Reducing water flow into these drains will
help stabilize the ditches resulting in less sediment flow from the drain itself
into Ocean Lake.
partners will be involved in this initiative – Lower Wind Conservation District,
WY Game and Fish, Midvale Irrigation District, WY Department of Environmental
Quality, US Fish and Wildlife Service and WY Association of Conservation
Conservation Funding and
NRCS conservation professionals
will provide technical assistance and planning tools to determine which
conservation actions will provide the best results to improve water quality on
your land. Nutrient management systems, erosion control, conservation tillage,
pest management, and buffers systems are just some of the practices being
offered as part of the NWQI. To help install these
conservation practices, financial assistance to share in the cost of these
conservation practices is available though the Environmental Quality Incentives
NRCS identified priority
watersheds through the help of local partnerships and state water quality
agencies. Partners sometimes offer financial assistance in addition to NRCS
programs. NRCS will continue to coordinate with local and state agencies,
conservation districts, nongovernmental organizations and others to implement
this initiative. This strategic approach will leverage funds and provide
streamlined assistance to help individual agricultural producers take needed
actions to reduce the flow
of sediment, nutrients and other runoff into impaired waterways.
Water quality conservation
practices benefit agricultural producers by lowering input costs and enhancing
the productivity of working lands. Conservation investments are good for all
Americans because well managed farms limit pollution from runoff, produce food
and fiber, sustain rural economies, and provide food security to the Nation. All
across the country—farmers, ranchers and forest landowners are voluntarily
taking action and putting conservation on the ground to improve water quality on
millions of acres!
NRCS is proud to be involved in a
nationwide effort with landowners and communities to improve and protect our
water resources. The landowners and farmers participating in the initiative will
receive conservation payments to work on the land in a sustainable way which
provides cleaner water. In addition to the financial assistance, the land will
remain productive into the future. Communities benefit by having clean
waterways, safer drinking water and healthy habitat for fish and wildlife.
How to Apply
Almost every county in the Nation
USDA Service Center.
To get started, make an appointment at your local office. You will need to
establish eligibility and farm records for your land. NRCS will help you
complete an application while explaining which conservation practices are
available in your watershed. Remember to check with your local NRCS office to
see if you are located in a selected watershed. All applications for funding
consideration, during fiscal year 2012, must be received by June 15, 2012.
Cheryl Grapes, Assistant State
Conservationist for Programs, 307-233-6757
Mary Schrader, Resource
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