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Soil conservation group met at East Creek Watershed

ORWELL — Change is happening on the land and that’s good news for water quality. It was highlighted recently when the Vermont Agricultural Water Quality Partnership (VAWQP) hosted a bus tour on Oct. 25 to highlight conservation in Addison County’s East Creek Watershed in Orwell. More than 40 people participated, including members of the Vermont Legislature, staff from UVM Extension, and local, state and federal agency personnel.
The tour was organized to enhance understanding of, and appreciation for, the conservation work implemented by private landowners in Vermont, with a focus on farmers. Presentations delivered during the tour examined the coordinated and strategic approach to improving water quality with the ultimate goal of helping the state reach water quality goals.
In fiscal year 2018, Vermont farmers have invested almost one million dollars in water quality improvements and equipment, including 48 agricultural Best Management Practices (BMP’s) with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM). This includes implementation of agronomic practices on more than 7,000 acres of farmland to improve soil health and protect water from runoff.
The VAWQP has a mission to accelerate water quality improvements by collaborating to provide outreach, education, technical and financial assistance directly to agricultural producers with respect for each partner’s vision, role and capacity.
“Hearing about conservation is one thing, but learning about conservation from Vermont farmers really brings it home,” said Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts. “Through this water quality partnership, efforts to improve water quality are in full force. While we may not see the results of our work for some time, it is important to recognize and learn about all of the work being done.” 
Members of the VAWQP include the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), Vermont Association of Conservation Districts (VACD), United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), University of Vermont Extension, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Department of Environmental Conservation (ANR-DEC), Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) and the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP).

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