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News and Reports > NRCS to Invest $30M in Water Quality

Nov. 3, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest $30 million this year in 33 new projects and 40 existing projects to improve water quality in high priority watersheds the Mississippi River Basin, including 2 projects in the Mississippi Delta. These projects reduce loss of nutrients and sediment to waters that eventually flow into the Gulf of Mexico.

“By targeting small priority watersheds within the Mississippi River basin, we are helping to deliver local water quality benefits and contributing to large-scale improvements for the Basin as a whole,” Secretary Vilsack said. “Water quality is important to everyone, at all levels of government, to private landowners, and in rural and urban areas alike. The many partnerships created through this initiative are both impressive and promising to the future of these watersheds.”

Delta F.A.R.M., the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and Mississippi Soil and Water Conservation Commission jointly submitted proposals for Mississippi watersheds this past summer. Those watersheds selected for funding include Burrell Bayou, Beaver Bayou and Mound Bayou watersheds in Bolivar and Sunflower counties under this initiative.

Projects are funded through NRCS’ Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI), which uses several 2014 Farm Bill conservation programs, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), to help farmers adopt conservation systems to improve water quality, enhance wildlife habitat, and restore wetlands. Since MRBI’s start in 2009, NRCS has worked with more than 600 partners and 5,000 farmers to make conservation improvements on more than 1 million acres in the region.