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USDA Announces New NRCS-Forest Service Partnership

This is a follow up to last week’s article on New Hampshire (and other states) being selected for a new partnership with USDA’s Forest Service (USFS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  USDA has now published an official announcement about this partnership that will provide over $30 million in financial and technical assistance if FY ’14.  This includes $16.5 million from NRCS, $8.7 million from USFS for National Forest Systems land, and $5.2 million for technical assistance to private landowners.  This effort focuses on three priorities:

  • Reducing and mitigating wildlife threats to communities and landowners.
  • Protecting water quality and supply for communities and industry.
  • Improving habitat quality for at-risk or ecosystem surrogate species.

The selected project states include Arkansas, California, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, New Mexico, Oregon, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.  ASDWA has spoken to a number of the drinking water programs in these states to find out more information.  While New Hampshire was involved in the project development and three other state projects specifically mention drinking water, some of the other state drinking water programs were unaware of the projects and are inquiring to find out more information about how they might get involved.  In addition, the Arkansas drinking water program was asked for (and provided) their statewide source water area maps as well as comments on the project proposal.  Unfortunately, the USDA representatives had a very short timeframe to select the project sites this year.  However, this partnership is expected to continue with additional projects being selected for 2015.  To view the announcement and the selected state projects, visit USDA’s web site.