Sign-up for Mississippi River Basin Initiative announced

The Record-Herald

The Fayette Soil & Water Conservation District’s (SWCD) “Upper Paint Creek Watershed Project” was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as part of the Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI). This project provides Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) funds for producers in the focus area to complete conservation practices that improve water quality.

The project focus area encompasses 331 square miles in 10 sub-watersheds of the Paint Creek Watershed which extend throughout central and western Fayette County and portions of Madison, Clark, Greene, Clinton and Highland counties. These sub-watersheds include East Fork Paint Creek, Headwaters Paint Creek, Town of Washington Court House – Paint Creek, Headwaters Sugar Creek, Camp Run – Sugar Creek, Headwaters Rattlesnake Creek, Waddle Ditch – Rattlesnake Creek, Grassy Branch, West Branch Rattlesnake Creek, and Wilson Creek.

The SWCD chose this area of focus due to the high density of crop fields, as well as Ohio EPA’s designation as “impaired” due to excessive sediment and nutrients.

The program will promote cover crops and grassed waterways as two of the primary practices to protect water quality and reduce soil erosion. According to SWCD Director Chet Murphy, “Cover crops help to keep soil and nutrients from being carried off of the field during storm events. Grassed waterways prevent gully erosion in those areas where concentrated flows of stormwater occur.”

Interested producers may submit applications for EQIP at any time. To be considered for funding this fiscal year, submit applications by April 19. Applications received by this date will be ranked according to their overall environmental benefit. Those providing the highest environmental benefit will be selected for funding this fiscal year.

Contact the USDA Service Center at 1415 US 22 SW, Suite 500, Washington Court House, Ohio 43160 to apply, or USDA-NRCS District Conservationist Josh Wilt at 740-313-3242 for more information.

The Record-Herald