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, and pathogens to local waterways. NRCS and its partners selected watersheds where conservation practices will provide the greatest water quality benefits. The initiative builds on efforts already under way in the Mississippi River Basin, Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, and the Great Lakes.

Assistance is available to eligible producers under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program for such practices as nutrient management, cover crops, conservation cropping systems, filter strips, terraces, and, in some cases, edge-of-field water quality monitoring. Read more. Also check out NRCS’ new Web tool, which helps farmers determine runoff quality.