Through the National Water Quality Initiative, NRCS has made $35 million in financial assistance available to address water quality issues across the country. Farmers and Ranchers can apply for funds to implement conservation practices to improve water quality.
The 2013 Water Quality Initiative has targeted 165 watersheds across the U.S. Eligible projects include those that work to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment and pathogen contributions from agricultural land.
For 2013, Georgia's Priority Watersheds are:
Upper Piscola Creek - HUC 031102030701
Lower Deep Creek - HUC 031102020205
Middle Piscola Creek - HUC 031102030702
Lower Piscola Creek - HUC 031102030703
NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year. Check with your local NRCS office to see if you are located in a selected watershed.
The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is offering a web-based tool that allows agricultural producers to determine the quality of water coming off their fields. The Water Quality Index allows individuals to input factors about their field, such as slope, soil characteristics, nutrient and pest management, tillage practices, and finally, conservation practices.
The tool takes these variables and produces a single rating to make it easier for non-scientists to discuss water quality, a topic that can quickly become technical and scientific often leaving most non-scientists behind.
The WQIag calculates these variables into a single rating on a 10-point scale: 0 being very poor; 10 being excellent.
More information on this software tool is available at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/newsroom/releases/?cid=stelprdb1097768.
(Note: You will need to install Microsoft Silverlight to run the software tool.)