NASHVILLE, Tenn.- State Conservationist Kevin Brown recently announced the launch of a new national water quality initiative committed to improving three impaired waterways in Tennessee. One of those selected was Caney Creek watershed in northern Marshall County. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will manage the initiative by making funds available to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in the selected watersheds. Also partnering on the initiative are the Marshall County Soil Conservation District and the Nature Conservancy - Duck River Chapter.
"The Water Quality Initiative will further NRCS' partnership efforts to improve water quality using voluntary actions on private lands," Brown said. "We have been working with producers across the state to improve water quality; this initiative allows for a focused approach in areas facing significant natural resource challenges. It bolsters the positive results of landscape conservation initiatives NRCS and its partners already have underway."
Through this effort, eligible producers in the Caney Creek watershed, a tributary of the Duck River in Marshall and Williamson Counties, will invest in voluntary conservation actions to help provide cleaner water for their neighbors and communities. The selected watersheds were identified with help from state agencies, partners, and the NRCS State Technical Committee.
Using funds from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, NRCS will provide funding and advise producers on how to install conservation practices such as cover crops, riparian forest buffers, fence, and livestock water facilities in watersheds with impairments where the federal investment can make a difference to improve water quality.
"American farmers are good stewards of the environment, especially when they have the tools they need to protect or improve fish and wildlife habitat and water quality," said NRCS Chief Dave White. "We look forward to collaborating with producers in key watersheds to help them have a positive impact on streams with impaired water quality."
Each of Tennessee's priority watersheds has a significant amount of agriculture production. The 18,956-acre Caney Creek watershed is 44 percent agricultural land and is impaired by nutrients and sediment.
NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year. Check with your local NRCS office to see if you are located in the Caney Creek watershed. All applications for funding consideration, during this fiscal year, must be received by June 15, 2012. This summer, NRCS will notify all applicants of the results and begin developing contracts with selected applicants.
Since 1935, NRCS's nationwide conservation delivery system works with private landowners to put conservation on the ground based on specific, local conservation needs, while accommodating state and national interests. For more information about NRCS' programs, initiatives and services in Tennessee, visit us online at www.tn.nrcs.usda.gov.
The other two priority watersheds in Tennessee are Fork Creek watershed, a tributary of the Little Tennessee River Basin in Monroe and Loudon Counties, and Holly Fork Creek, a tributary of Lower Kentucky Reservoir in Henry County.