Projects test farm water protection methods

COLCHESTER — Vicky M. Drew, state conservationist for Vermont’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), announced today that signups have begun for a new project to monitor water quality on agricultural fields in targeted areas throughout the state.
“NRCS is seeking producers to sign up by June 14 to monitor the water quality benefits of a variety of conservation practices on their land,” Drew said. “The data from the monitoring will show the impacts of voluntary conservation practices on water quality, and will be used to validate NRCS water quality modeling efforts that will benefit agriculture across the nation. The results will also be used to help farmers adapt their management to gain even greater water quality benefits that are compatible with agriculture production goals.”
Vermont watersheds from the following counties have been approved for potential edge-of-field monitoring projects: Franklin, Chittenden, Addison, Rutland, Washington and Orleans. If you live in one of these counties, check with your local USDA Service Center to determine if you are located in a selected watershed: www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/vt/contact/local/.
A key component of this project is a close relationship with several partners, including the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets; the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation; and the Lake Champlain Basin Program. According to Drew, “These projects will support the good conservation work and give producers the feedback on the many positive impacts they are making.”
Funding for these projects comes from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for monitoring projects in 12-digit priority watersheds that have been targeted for funding. Some of the selected watersheds in this project are associated with additional funding through NRCS’s National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI).
NRCS accepts applications for funding assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year. All applications for the edge-of-field monitoring project must be received by June 14 to be considered for funding this year. For more information about technical assistance and conservation programs go to www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/vt/programs/.

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