USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program funding awarded to NACWA members

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies has commended its members who are leading and/or participating as key partners in projects awarded from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Regional Conservation Partnership Program.

Jan. 15, 2015 -- The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) has commended its members who are leading and/or participating as key partners in projects awarded from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), a project that promotes coordination between NRCS and its partners to deliver conservation assistance to producers and landowners (see "Clean water plants implored to apply to RCPP").

"NACWA members recognize that if we are to achieve the goals of the Clean Water Act, we need the agricultural sector to undertake significant conservation efforts on the farm," said Ken Kirk, NACWA executive director. "We have been a strong supporter of the RCPP from the beginning because we recognize that collaborating with agricultural partners is critical to finding innovative ways to address water quality problems effectively and in a more holistic manner. NACWA members have been leading the charge to engage in new partnerships to improve water quality, and the RCPP awards highlight and support the great work that these agencies are doing."

NACWA congratulates the following members who are playing key partnership roles in the following project awards:

  • TheCity of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, serves as leading partner for the Middle Cedar Partnership Project that will focus on working with local conservation partners, farmers and landowners to install best management practices such as cover crops, nutrient management, wetlands, and saturated buffers to help improve water quality, water quantity and soil health in the Cedar River Watershed.
  • TheMadison Metropolitan Sewage District, a key partner for the Yahara Watershed Pilot project led by the Dane County Land and Water Resources Department, will be the first in the nation to test the Watershed Adaptive Management Program -- an innovative regulatory compliance option for addressing phosphorus.
  • TheCity of Columbus, Ohio, is a participating partner in a watershed project in the Upper Big Walnut Creek watershed, which supplies drinking water to the city.
  • The City of Baltimore, Md., is a participating partner in the Mason-Dixon Working Lands Partnership focusing on wetlands restoration and the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The RCPP is a new program established under the 2014 Farm Bill to encourage partnerships between agricultural producers and other entities, including municipalities and wastewater authorities, to tackle water quality challenges and other natural resource problems (see "New Farm Bill spurs partnership between agriculture, clean water agencies"). NACWA led the Healthy Waters Coalition of municipal water and wastewater organizations, environmental NGOs and state regulators in advocating for strengthening the links between agricultural policy and water quality during last year's Farm Bill reauthorization debate.

In addition to the Healthy Waters Coalition effort, NACWA recently signed an Memorandum Of Understanding with the National Milk Producers Federation to collaborate on local water quality projects involving anaerobic digestion of manure and other conservation measures to help manage nutrients better on the farm (see "NACWA, NMPF sign major MOU to enhance collaboration on watershed improvement projects").

At its upcoming Winter Conference in Charleston, SC, NACWA members will focus on collaborative approaches, including collaborations involving agriculture, that are helping local communities more effectively address local water quality challenges. During the conference, NACWA is expected to release a white paper describing how collaborations with the agricultural sector are successfully improving water quality.

See also:

"Utility of the Future hearing held in Senate; NACWA members testify"

"NACWA stresses need for solutions addressing water quality challenges"

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