Tag Archives: USDA

Newly Authorized Agriculture Conservation Practices Could Negatively Affect Water Quality

In late April, at the same time it released the draft Waters of the U.S. rule, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published an interpretive rule that went into effect immediately. The rule clarifies the scope of agriculture, forestry, and ranching exemptions to dredge-and-fill permits issued under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. It […]

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USDA to Provide Assistance to Improve Water Quality

On May 21, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide $33 million in assistance to farmers and ranchers. The money will be used on conservation improvements that will enhance water quality in 174 watersheds. The funding is being provided through the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI), administered by […]

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EPA Releases Online Interactive Ecosystem Mapping Tool

On May 7, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the release of EnviroAtlas. The interactive ecosystem mapping tool is web-based and integrates more than 300 separate data layers. EnviroAtlas can help people learn about ecosystems and their benefits, including protection from hurricanes and floods. It also can help decision-makers understand the environmental implications of […]

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USDA Announces New Grants for Funding Water Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will make $6 million in grants available this year, and up to $30 million total over the next five years as part of a new initiative to provide solutions to agricultural water challenges. The grants will be used to develop management practices, technologies, […]

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Source Water Collaborative Releases Partnership Building Toolkit

In mid-January, the Source Water Collaborative — a group of 25 national organizations united in protecting America’s drinking water at the source — released a new online toolkit. The guide helps to “facilitate partnerships to protect drinking water sources through agriculture, conservation practices, stormwater and forest management.” With the toolkit, users can obtain guidance on […]

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WRI Assesses Mississippi River Basin Initiative

On Jan. 7, the World Resources Institute (WRI) released the first in a three-part series of reports focused on the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Conservation Service (NRCS) Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI). The report provides an assessment of the program, which started in 2009. The program is still in its initial implementation phase, so […]

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Conservation Practices Improving Runoff Quality in Chesapeake Bay, NRCS Report Says

According a report released Dec. 5 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), conservation practices are reducing nutrients and sediment in runoff headed to the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Since 2006, practices adopted by Chesapeake Bay farmers through the Farm Bill have reduced the nitrogen leaving fields by 26% or 22,000 Mg […]

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EPA and USDA Partner to Support Water Quality Trading

On Dec. 3, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a partnership to further water quality trading. Their goal is to improve water quality through a market-driven approach that provides a cost-effective means for complying with Clean Water Act requirements. Trading allows regulated entities to purchase and use pollutant […]

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Conservation Practices Make Significant Contributions to Mississippi River Water Quality

On July 31, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) released information on its Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative. During the last 4 years, NRCS has devoted $341 million to 640 small priority watersheds in the Mississippi River Basin. With financial and technical assistance from NRCS, farmers have built conservation practices […]

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NRCS Offers $35 Million in Assistance for National Water Quality Initiative

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is releasing nearly $35 million in financial assistance to farmers and ranchers as part of its second year of funding for the National Water Quality Initiative. The funds will be available in 164 priority watersheds, targeting conservation practices that reduce the delivery of nutrients, sediments, […]

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