USDA is accepting project proposals that will improve water quality and the overall health of the Mississippi River in 41 eligible watersheds in 12 states. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack called the initiative a significant step toward achieving water quality improvement along the Mississippi River. The states included in the project are: Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service will administer the initiative, first announced on Sept. 24, 2009. Projects will be accepted based on their potential for managing nitrogen and phosphorus, nutrients associated with impaired water quality, while maintaining agricultural productivity and benefiting wildlife. Individual producers can only participate in this initiative in approved partnership projects.
The Request for Proposals for the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative, through which up to $75 million will be available, was published in the Federal Register this week. Proposals are due by May 1.