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New USDA NRCS Source Water Protection Website with National Maps

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has developed a new Source Water Protection page on their website that includes national maps of NRCS identified source water priority areas under the 2018 Farm Bill. These two maps show the 2022 priority source water areas by:

  • Type of (water) system using either groundwater, surface water, or both.
  • Resource concern for water quality, quantity, or both.

State source water coordinators, water utilities, and others partners play an important role in assisting State NRCS offices in identifying and refining these priority areas annually, and in following up to identify next steps to encourage implementation of conservation practices.

This is an opportunity for state and local source water partners to reach out to their NRCS State Conservationist’s office to request their state specific map of priority source water areas. These maps can be used to identify project opportunities with source water partners like conservation districts for NRCS conservation program funding and technical assistance for agricultural producers and private owners of forested lands and rangeland to install conservation practices that address drinking water quality and quantity concerns. Under the Farm Bill, NRCS sets higher cost-share incentive rates for producers adopting conservation practices in these priority source water protection areas. One of the current funding opportunities for these projects is the Resource Conservation Partnership Program.

For tips on reaching out to your State Conservationist and to local conservation districts, use the Source Water Collaborative’s Conservation Toolkit. For tips and state examples of success with potential solutions for addressing challenges, read the ASDWA and GWPC report, State SWP Programs: A Progress Report on Agriculture and Forestry Coordination Since the Passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.

For more information, visit the new NRCS Source Water Protection website. For additional information on NRCS source water protection efforts, and to provide feedback on the new source water protection web page, please contact Martin Lowenfish with the NRCS Areawide Planning Branch at martin.lowenfish@usda.gov.