USDA Provides Funding for Aquifer Conservation

USDA Provides Funding for Aquifer Conservation

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - 9:00am

Aurora News Register

AURORA, Nebraska - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA’s Natural Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest about $8 million in the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative this fiscal year to help farmers and ranchers conserve billions of gallons of water annually while strengthening agricultural operations. Interested producers have until Jan. 20, 2017, to apply for Fiscal year 2017 funds.

NRCS launched the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative in 2011 to reduce aquifer water use, improve water quality and enhance the economic viability of croplands and rangelands in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New Mexico, Texas, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Nebraska has Ogallala Aquifer Initiative project areas in the Central Platte, Middle Republican, Little Blue, and Upper Big Blue Natural Resources Districts. The total Ogallala Aquifer Initiative project investment in Nebraska for Fiscal Year 2017 is $2.4 million. Interested farmers and ranchers can apply at any time, but to receive this year’s funding, producers should apply by Jan. 20, 2017.

The Ogallala Aquifer Initiative projects will enable participants to voluntarily implement practices to conserve irrigation water and improve groundwater quality.

According to Nebraska State Conservationist Craig Derickson, Nebraska is ahead of the curve when it comes to managing groundwater in the Ogallala Aquifer.

“Thanks to Natural Resources Districts’ management of groundwater, the Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska is in good shape. The work the NRDs are doing to manage groundwater in a sustainable way is far ahead of other regions within the Aquifer making them the perfect conservation partner for the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative,” Derickson said.

The Ogallala Aquifer is the largest aquifer in the U.S. and includes nearly all of Bebraska and sections of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. It is the primary water source for the High Plains region.

For more on technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, and to see a full list of the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative areas, visit the NRCS website. 

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