Federal and State Agencies announce plan to enhance Kentucky’s water quality

Kentucky will receive $4.4 million in investments over the next five years through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).  Federal and state agencies are partnering to improve water quality in the Commonwealth.  This first RCPP project in Kentucky focuses on improving water quality by reducing nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment loads entering waterbodies and waterways.  Kentucky is one of 12 states participating in the Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force working to coordinate actions for nutrient management within this large watershed.

The RCPP is a part of a nationwide project that includes 115 high-impact projects across all 50 states totaling $372.5 million.  The project is designed to improve soil health, water quality and water use efficiency, wildlife habitat and other related natural resources on privately held farms and ranches.  The program provides multiple agencies opportunities to work together toward the common goal of improving water quality. 

The United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Kentucky Department of Natural Resources, Kentucky Division of Conservation, and the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment jointly announced that they are leveraging their financial and technical capabilities, and more than doubling the reach of the program through their contributions.  The partners in RCPP will be making a concentrated effort to provide agricultural producers with much needed technical and financial assistance to address on-farm water quality issues.

James Roe, Kentucky Division of Water Nonpoint Source program said, “The partnership will provide the agriculture sector specific education and outreach to producers regarding water quality issues they face every day.”

Producers will be provided with technical and financial assistance in developing Agriculture Water Quality Plans and Nutrient Management Plans for their farming operations, in addition to the on-the-ground implementation of conservation practices.  The Kentucky Division of Water will be working with the partnership to provide matching funds through its Nonpoint Source Grant program.

According to the Division of Water’s 2012 Integrated Report 1,283 stream miles are impaired by nutrients in whole or part from agricultural sources.  The Regional Conservation Partnership Project is a significant effort toward the implementation of the agriculture component of both the Division of Water’s Nonpoint Source Management Plan and Statewide Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

“The RCPP is a great opportunity to improve Kentucky’s waterways”, said Roe.  “It will result in more farmers having Agriculture Water Quality and Nutrient Management Plans.  Implementation of those plans means less animal waste, nutrients, pesticides, and sediment getting into Kentucky’s waters.”

For more information, please contact James Roe, Kentucky Division of Water, Watershed Management Branch at James.Roe@ky.gov, or 502.564.3410.

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