California receives $18M for agricultural water enhancement projects

FRESNO, CA, July 30, 2009 -- Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Dave White announced that 15 organizations in California will receive funding from a new program under the 2008 Farm Bill that will help improve water quality and quantity...

FRESNO, CA, July 30, 2009 -- Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Dave White announced today that 15 organizations in California will receive funding from a new program under the 2008 Farm Bill that will help improve water quality and quantity. The funding is being made available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP).

"AWEP is a voluntary conservation initiative that provides financial and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers to improve water conditions on their agricultural land," said White. Nationwide, nearly $58 million will be used to fund 63 AWEP projects in 21 states.

AWEP is a newly-established part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), a program administered by NRCS. The difference in AWEP projects is that applications for project funding are made directly to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from an organization on behalf of a group of agricultural producers who intend to make water improvements in a geographic area.

"This is welcome news to the 15 conservation, irrigation, and tribal partners who are working on these projects to help manage California's priceless water resources," said Gayle Norman, Acting NRCS State Conservationist in California.

Applications from individual agricultural producers within a given AWEP project area are ranked according to the conservation resource need. Producers whose applications are selected enter into individual contracts with NRCS.

>> View the list of approved California AWEP projects

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