March 07, 2021

NRCS is accepting applications to help improve water quality

WILLIAMSPORT, Ind. — Indiana NRCS has begun accepting the second round of applications to get funding to improve water quality in northwest Indiana in the Big Pine Watershed.

Cindy Johnston, a district conservationist for Warren County, said this Regional Conservation Partnership has gone on for several years now.

Although applications are accepted on a continuous basis, the cutoff to be considered for the second round of Natural Resources Conservation Service funding is March 19.

Johnston said it’s an opportunity for farmers in the Big Pine Watershed — which covers almost 210,000 acres in western Indiana and includes portions of Benton, White, Warren and Tippecanoe counties — to work with other partners to help get farming and conservation practices on the ground.

There is additional funding available for farmers in the Big Pine Watershed, so they don’t have to compete against individuals in other watershed programs, Johnston said.

The funding for this round of finical assistance is made available through Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Stewardship Program, and the money is put into the Big Pine Watershed Regional Conservation Partnership Program.

Johnston said they work with partners in the watershed to discover specific projects where they want to improve water conservation and soil health, along with nutrient and pest management issues.

The funding can be used to help implement those conservation practices, as well as the possibility of planting cover crops, which Johnston said is quite popular.

A fairly new conservation practice that is available through the funding is the implementation of grassed waterways.

Johnston said the project has been very successful not only in the number of conservation projects that have been implemented, but also because landowners are learning bout the importance of conservation practices on the land.

For more information or to apply, visit tinyurl.com/rxfep78r.

Ashley Langreck

Field Editor