ASDWA and GWPC Host Central States Source Water Protection Meeting with NRCS and EPA

On November 5, ASDWA and GWPC hosted a virtual Source Water Coordination meeting with State Source Water Protection Coordinators, NRCS Regional and State Conservationists, and EPA Headquarters and Regions in the NRCS Central Region. Approximately 76 people attended the meeting that included representatives from all programs in all twelve states. The purpose of the meeting was to strengthen partnerships for source water protection, and discuss how NRCS and state programs are working together to share GIS data and target NRCS conservation program funding for implementing projects and practices that advance source water protection.

Sal Salinas, the Central NRCS Regional Conservationist opened the meeting by sharing opportunities for state and utility partners to participate in and share information with the NRCS State Technical Advisory Committees, source water protection subcommittees (if the state has one), and the local workgroups hosted by the soil and water conservation districts. Speakers from the state source water protection and NRCS programs in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Nebraska also provided brief presentations about their coordination efforts during the meeting.

It was great to see that different states and program partners were making connections through the discussion and in the chat for opportunities to learn from each other. Some general themes that arose from the presentations and discussions included:

  • Source water protection coordination efforts are particularly focused on row crops and ground water in the region.
  • Developing advanced GIS mapping for wellhead protection areas and conducting water quality and quantity monitoring is very helpful for addressing nitrate, pesticides, and water depletion impacts.
  • Many states are working with their water utilities, state Rural Water Associations, and other partners to prioritize and implement projects.
  • NRCS landowner outreach, ranking tools, and increased payments help to increase landowner participation in conservation programs.

For more information about the meeting and opportunities to work with NRCS, view the agenda here, and visit ASDWA’s source water web page.