Agricultural producers have an incentive to manage their operations with a conservation outlook since their livelihood depends on the quality of the soil and water they use to produce the food, fiber, forage, and fuel for the world’s growing population. Through USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, technical and financial assistance will be available to support their endeavors in the Upper Big Walnut Creek watershed. This watershed, which encompasses parts of Delaware, Knox, Licking, and Morrow counties, drains into Hoover Reservoir, one of the drinking water supplies for the city of Columbus.
A special sign up is open now through November 17, 2017 for producers in the Upper Big Walnut Creek watershed who wish to implement phosphorus reducing best management practices. The funding comes through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) under the USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program. The Upper Big Walnut Creek project is a collaborative effort amongst Delaware, Knox, Licking, and Morrow Soil & Water Conservation Districts. Support comes from the Upper Big Walnut Creek Water Quality Partnership whose members are focused on improving the water quality of the creek and its tributaries through effective conservation practices while sustaining profitable agriculture within the watershed.
EQIP is a voluntary conservation program that helps eligible farmers protect local natural resources while promoting agricultural production. Practices may include: cover crops, field borders, filter strips, conservation cover, reduced tillage and residue management, structures for water control, nutrient management, drainage water management, conservation crop rotation, underground outlets for water quality, grass waterways, grade stabilization structures, and amending soil properties with gypsiferous products.
For information on the Upper Big Walnut Creek watershed and the special EQIP program, please contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service: Delaware NRCS at 740-362-4011; Knox NRCS at 740-392-7806; Licking NRCS at 740-670-5330; Morrow NRCS at 419-946-3755.
Bonnie Dailey is the deputy administrator for the Delaware Soil & Water Conservation District. For information, go to www.delawareswcd.org.