NACWA, NMPF sign major MOU to enhance collaboration on watershed improvement projects
In an effort to collectively make large-scale watershed-level water quality improvements, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies and the National Milk Producers Federation signed a MOU to promote increased cooperation and communication between the two organizations.
WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 9, 2014 -- In an effort to collectively make large-scale watershed-level water quality improvements across the U.S., both the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote increased cooperation and communication between the two organizations.
The MOU marks an important milestone in attempts to strengthen ties between urban and rural sectors on conservation activities to improve local water quality and the environment. Likewise, the goal of the agreement is to encourage clean water agencies and nearby dairy farms to work together to improve both water quality and environmental benefits produced on dairy farms.
Potential projects include cooperation on building anaerobic digesters, which can use manure to generate electricity and reduce methane emissions, and increasing production of water quality benefits through the use of nutrient separation technologies and land management practices such as planting grass buffers near streams and using no-till planting in fields.
"Forty two years after the passage of the Clean Water Act (CWA), we have reached a point where we must look upstream in our watersheds to realize further water quality improvements," said Ken Kirk, NACWA executive director. "This MOU will help to align the clean water and dairy communities around common and cost-effective approaches to meet the future water quality and energy needs of this country while sustaining two critical industries."
Jim Mulhern, NMPF president and CEO, added, "It's more cost effective to produce water quality benefits upstream than downstream, which is why we're collaborating with others like NACWA who share the goal of encouraging best practices in order to maintain a quality water supply."
In addition to encouraging partnerships at the watershed level, both national organizations are working together to educate policy makers and regulators on the environmental and economic impacts of such collaborative efforts. NACWA and NMPF will also work together to leverage federal interest from Congress, via the Farm Bill (see "Farm Bill spurs partnership between agriculture, clean water agencies") and similar programs, to facilitate watershed-level partnerships and further develop anaerobic digestion capabilities nationwide.
"These issues are critical to the long-term sustainability of our nation’s resources, and were front and center when we developed the conservation title of the 2014 Farm Bill," said Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Senate Agriculture Committee chairwoman. "In strengthening farm bill conservation programs, we emphasized the importance of forming unique partnerships and maximizing resources to tackle common challenges. Agreements like this reflect that spirit of collaboration and will lay the groundwork for success in ensuring the long-term health and sustainability of our nation's waters."
The National Association of Clean Water Agencies represents the interests of more than 300 public agencies and organizations that have made the pursuit of scientifically based, technically sound and cost effective laws and regulations their objective. NACWA members serve the majority of the sewered population in the United States and collectively treat and reclaim more than 18 billion gallons of wastewater daily. For more information, visit www.nacwa.org.
The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, Va., develops and carries out policies that advance the well-being of dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. The members of NMPF’s cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply, making NMPF the voice of more than 32,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. For more information, visit www.nmpf.org.