Sussex County landowners can now sign up for special funding to restore eroded banks in tax ditches for improved water quality. Approximately $500,000 is available to restore the tax ditches, or watershed channels, utilizing vegetative material such as coir logs and live stakes — also known as green technology or bioengineering. Stabilizing the banks will reduce or eliminate erosion, therefore minimizing the transport of sediments and nutrients into surface and ground water.
Landowners are encouraged to apply by April 15 to implement practices such as stream and shoreline protection, or stream habitat improvement and management. Additional partner funds will help landowners implement denitrifying bioreactors and water control structures, which are also designed to reduce amount of nutrients in the ditches for enhanced water quality. Projects must be on agricultural lands.
Interested applicants must meet eligibility requirements of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which is administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). NRCS accepts applications year round; however, all applications received by the first application deadline of April 15 will be ranked and considered for funding.
This Watershed Channel Restoration Project in Sussex County, Delaware, was selected as part of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) administered by NRCS. The project is led by the Sussex Conservation District and participating partners include DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship; Sussex County’s Tax Ditch Organizations, and Advanced Drainage Systems (ADS). The project will increase the implementation of green technology/ bioengineered practices in tax ditch drainage systems utilizing natural vegetative material for stabilization purposes.
RCPP promotes coordination between the USDA NRCS and its partners to deliver conservation assistance to producers and landowners. The Watershed Channel Restoration project is a 2015 RCPP project that bring additional resources to Sussex County.
To sign up for this project or for more information, contact the USDA Service Center at 302-856-3990 ext. 3, or visit in-person at 21315 Berlin Road, Unit 4, Georgetown, Delaware; or go online to www.de.nrcs.usda.gov. Delaware NRCS works with the Delaware Conservation Districts to address resource concerns on privately-owned agricultural and forest lands.