Indiana NRCS accepting applications for farmers’ nutrient, sediment load reduction

March 17, 2023
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting applications for work to reduce nutrient and sediment loads from croplands to watersheds, with the current funding cycle closing April 28, 2023.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced that it is accepting applications to improve water quality in the Big Pine Creek watershed in northwest Indiana.

The funding is provided through the Big Pine Creek Watershed Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The partnership is working with farmers in the area to increase the nutrient and sediment reducing practices on cropland.

While applications are accepted year-round, NRCS says that interested parties should submit applications to their local NRCS office by April 28, 2023 to be considered for the current funding period. Applications received after April 28 will automatically be considered during the next funding cycle.

The Big Pine Creek watershed covers almost 210,000 acres in northwestern Indiana including portions of Benton, White, Warren and Tippecanoe counties.

The Big Pine Creek Watershed RCPP is focusing its conservation efforts on soil health practices such as planting cover crops and nutrient management, which included managing the amount, source, placement and timing of plant nutrients and soil amendments. Conservation practices like these reduce the amount of nutrients lost from farm fields into waterways, curbs erosion and improve the resiliency of agricultural lands during times of extreme weather.

RCPP is a partner-led program, with NRCS directing technical and financial assistance to priorities identified by partners. Led by The Nature Conservancy, additional partners involved in Indiana’s Big Pine Creek watershed project include Ceres Solutions, Land O’ Lakes Truterra, Benton, Warren, Tippecanoe, and White County Soil and Water Conservation Districts and NRCS.

“The Regional Conservation Partnership Program enables public, private and non-profit organizations to work together to address natural resource concerns at a watershed scale,” said Curtis Knueven, NRCS assistant state conservationist for programs. “This project greatly expands the use of conservation practices that build soil health in the Big Pine Creek watershed and will help us document the effect of those practices in a way that is meaningful to producers and managers.”

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