Indiana Mission A part of USDA’s funding within the western Lake Erie Basin to guard pure sources in help of producers within the space

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $ 23.2 million in three locally operated partnerships in the western Lake Erie Basin, which includes parts of , Michigan and Ohio. This includes a $ 7.8 million investment in Indiana’s USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)-led collaboration project in the western Lake Erie Basin, Tri-.

Funded in part by the NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), these projects will address climate change, improve water quality, combat drought, improve soil health, support wildlife habitats and protect the viability of agriculture.

Under RCPP, conservation partners work with the NRCS to help farmers and private forest owners implement conservation systems that improve natural resource concerns on their land.

“The Regional Conservation Partnership Program shows -private partnerships at their best,” said Jerry Raynor, state conservationist for NRCS in Indiana. “These new projects will harness the power of partnerships to develop science-based solutions to improve the health and resilience of the western Lake Erie basin and improve water quality and soil productivity in the region.”

The Tri-State Western Lake Erie Basin Collaboration is a partnership of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) that has partnered with more than 30 partners to help participating farmers improve soil health by reducing phosphorus and sediment pollution reduce and prevent harmful algal blooms in the western Lake Erie basin through a series of protective measures that work towards a 40% reduction in dissolved phosphorus. The partnership will use sophisticated targeting tools such as the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to work with producers and landowners operating near the Maumee Headwaters, an area identified as a source of high phosphorus, to educate, protect, and restore and sustainably use soil, water and wildlife in the water catchment area.

Throughout its history, RCPP has deployed affiliate contributions of more than $ 1 for every $ 1 invested by USDA, resulting in nearly $ 3 billion collectively invested in natural resource conservation on private land. USDA expects investments made Tuesday by communities and other partners will generate additional conservation funds of at least $ 440 million.

Under the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is making nationwide efforts to address the climate crisis and to conserve and protect our country’s land, biodiversity, and natural resources, including soil, air, and water. Through conservation practices and partnerships, including those through RCPP, USDA aims to fuel economic growth and create new streams of income for farmers, producers and private foresters. To successfully address these challenges, USDA and our agencies must work with USDA stakeholders including state, , and tribal governments to take a coordinated approach.

Nationally, the NRCS invests $ 330 million in 85 locally operated partnerships to work with farmers, landowners and local communities to tackle climate change.

There are currently 336 active RCPP projects in which more than 2,000 partners have been involved. The interactive map of the award-winning RCPP projects can be found here.

To learn more about RCPP in Indiana, visit: Regional Conservation Partnership Program | NRCS Indiana (usda.gov).

For more information about NRCS and other technical and financial support through conservation programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted or contact your district conservationist at https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app .

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