USDA’s NRCS Awards $1.3 Million to Control Phosphorus Runoff Into Lakes and Streams
Dane County has been awarded $1.3 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to help restore the water quality of area lakes and streams, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.
Dane County, in partnership with NRCS, will provide financial assistance to farm families to implement key conservation practices such as nutrient management planning, wetland restoration and planting grass buffers along streams to filter nutrients out of water draining off the farm. The 4-year effort as part of the federal Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative will provide funding for the 30 farms in the Sixmile Creek Watershed that feeds into Lake Mendota.
“Dane County’s farm families have always been excellent stewards of the land, and have been among our strongest partners in the ongoing effort to clean up our lakes,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “Together we are implementing common sense solutions that are making a big impact in the health of our lakes.”
The project funding will be contributed to the ground-breaking partnership effort announced last week between Dane County, the Madison Metropolitan Sewage District and 30 other cities, towns, villages, environmental and farm organizations. The Yahara WINs (Yahara Watershed Improvement Network) partnership was created to comply with new state regulations requiring significant reductions in phosphorus from all sources, includingurban and rural runoff, as well as municipal wastewater treatment plants, industrial and commercial sources. Excessive phosphorus runoff leads to algae growth in area waterways.
“This Healthy Watershed Initiative helps farmers voluntarily implement conservation and management practices that avoid, control, and trap nutrient runoff from farm land," said Pat Leavenworth, State Conservationist for NRCS in Wisconsin. "Reducing nutrients and sediment is the key to improving water quality in Lake Mendota, and ultimately the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico."
The new funding for the Sixmile Creek Watershed is directly adjacent to other watersheds that are currently the focus of Dane County led phosphorus reduction work that received $2 million of NRCS funding as part of a five-year initiative announced by Parisi last summer.