USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is launching a new project to monitor water quality on agricultural fields within targeted areas of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. In an effort to improve and/or verify the effectiveness of agricultural conservation practices and systems, NRCS is implementing this project in which producers utilize edge-of-field monitoring practices to evaluate the quality of water draining from their farms.
Delaware’s Clear Brook-Nanticoke River Watershed has been approved for potential edge-of-field monitoring projects. Delaware NRCS is encouraging producers within the selected watershed to sign up by June 14 to monitor the water quality benefits of various conservation practices, such as no-till, cover crops, nutrient management and more.
Selected producers will work with consultants, universities, and state and local agencies to develop a monitoring plan meeting NRCS approval and to conduct monitoring. Producers will be able to receive funding for monitoring through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Only the highest ranked applications will be funded as this is a competitive process throughout the Bay Watershed.
“We are committed to demonstrating that voluntary conservation efforts implemented at the farm level are invaluable,” said Russell Morgan, Delaware NRCS State Conservationist. “As monitoring progress is made, we will be better able to help farmers focus conservation practices on the areas of greatest need using the most effective conservation systems.”
The data collected from these projects will be used to validate NRCS water quality modeling efforts that will benefit agriculture across the nation. All data will be protected under the Farm Bill privacy rules, and details will be shared only as authorized by the producer.
Delaware’s selected watershed is also the focus on our National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) program. Only producers within the Clear Brook-Nanticoke River Watershed, which is located in the western region of Sussex County between Bridgeville and Seaford, are eligible to participate.
All applications for funding consideration for the edge of field monitoring project must be received by June 14, 2013; however, NRCS accepts applications for funding assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year.
If you live in or near the Bridgeville and Seaford areas, contact the USDA Service Center in Georgetown to see if you are located in the selected watershed. To learn more, call 302-856-3990 x 3 or visit www.de.nrcs.usda.gov.