ST. MARYS — Agricultural producers and land owners in Auglaize and Mercer counties will now have the opportunity to apply for funding as part of an effort to protect water and resources throughout the Great Lakes Basin.
More than $1.5 million is now available for the installation of specific conservation practices through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). The funding is provided through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and will be directed toward accelerating conservation practices that focus on water quality and invasive species in the following priority watersheds: Auglaize, Blanchard, Cedar-Portage, Lower Maumee, Ottawa-Stony, Raisin, Sandusky, St. Joseph, St. Marys, Tiffin and Upper Maumee. Representatives from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide farmers with assistance to determine the best conservation practices that will improve and protect their land.
“The GLRI is a multi-agency collaboration with the shared mission to improve and protect the waters of the Great Lakes Basin,” said Michelle Lohstroh, acting state conservationist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service. “NRCS is working with farmers and landowners on private lands who are doing their part to improve the resources.”
This year the focus is on reducing water quality degradation because of agricultural runoff. Examples of these practices include waste storage facilities, residue management, no-till, nutrient management, tree planting, wetland creation and drainage water management.
“I commend the farmers who take the initiative and come to us for help. They deserve the credit for taking action to help protect resources in their watersheds,” Lohstroh said in a news release. “We provide them with information on the scientifically-proven practices and where best to use them, as well as funding to help pay for them, but it’s their land and they make the decisions.”
Applications for priority ranking will be accepted through Aug. 9. Those interested in the program should contact their local USDA office before the deadline. For more information, visit OH.NRCS.USDA.gov.