LINCOLN - The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is working with landowners in the Shell Creek and Wahoo Creek watersheds to protect water quality. Funds are available to landowners within these watersheds through the Water Quality Initiative to install conservation practices that improve water quality. Landowners interested in applying for conservation practice funds through the Water Quality Initiative should visit their local NRCS office by March 16.
The goal of this initiative is to improve water quality in the Shell Creek and Wahoo Creek Watersheds. Shell Creek Watershed is located in portions of Antelope, Boone, Madison, Platte and Colfax counties. Wahoo Creek Watershed is located in Saunders County. This Initiative provides eligible landowners financial assistance to install conservation practices like terraces, waterways and sediment control basins to reduce soil erosion and improve water quality.
State Conservationist Craig Derickson said, “USDA is committed to working with farmers, ranchers, and landowners to address water quality issues and provide the tools necessary to ensure clean, safe water. This Initiative is an example of how voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs are benefitting both producers and our natural resources.”
The targeted watersheds were identified with help from state agencies and partner organizations, including the Lower Platte North Natural Resources District. Including these watersheds in the Water Quality Initiative will strengthen the overall effort to improve water quality in impaired streams in Nebraska.
Tom Mountford, assistant manager for the Lower Platte North NRD said, “The Shell Creek and Wahoo Creek initiatives are high priorities for the Lower Platte North NRD. The NRD has high regard for the partnership with NRCS to the success of the program.”
Mountford pointed out that landowners within the Lower Platte North NRD have been volunteering to help improve water quality for many years.
“The Shell Creek Watershed Improvement Group formed in 1999 to help identify funding opportunities on the local, state, and federal level to aid in the improvement efforts of the Shell Creek Watershed. Their hard work and assistance was crucial in bringing not only funding but attention to the Water Quality Initiative,” Mountford said.
Interested landowners and operators should check with the local NRCS office to see if their farm or ranch is located in the area eligible to receive Water Quality Initiative funding.
Additional information about the Water Quality Initiative, and a detailed map of the sign up areas is available at www.ne.nrcs.usda.gov or by contacting NRCS and the Lower Platte North NRD office.