Michael Fields Agricultural Institute logo
At the intersection of food, soil, climate, farming and water.

USDA Conservation Funding in MI Targets Great Lakes

Opportunity with the Michigan NRCS in selected counties and watersheds affecting the Great Lakes. Inquire at your local office in Michigan well before July 24th.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will make $960,000 in conservation financial assistance available to private landowners in Michigan to help improve water quality and wildlife habitat around the Great Lakes.

The financial assistance is available to farmers and landowners in selected Michigan watersheds through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Farmers and landowners interested in obtaining financial assistance to implement conservation improvements on their land must apply at their local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service office before July 24, 2015. The financial assistance is available to agricultural producers in the Saginaw Bay area, the Western Lake Erie Basin area in southeast Michigan, and in areas of Northern Michigan near Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

“Improving water quality in the Great Lakes depends on reducing nutrient loading from all sources, including agricultural operations, residential lawns, septic systems and many others. Farmers can do their part to improve Great Lakes water quality by implementing proven conservation practices that reduce nutrient runoff,” said NRCS State Conservationist Garry Lee.

A portion of the USDA funding is targeted to reducing the amount of phosphorus that runs off of agricultural land and enters the Great Lakes. Phosphorus runoff from farm land and other sources is responsible for harmful algae blooms that damage aquatic habitat and water quality. Phosphorus runoff from farm land can be greatly reduced by adopting conservation practices like cover crops, conservation tillage and buffer strips. The USDA offers financial assistance for these and other conservation practices.

Financial assistance is also available to improve wildlife habitat and combat invasive species such as phragmites. Phragmites is a reed that grows in wetland areas and crowds out native species and degrades wildlife habitat. Habitat improvement practices include activities such as tree, shrub and grass planting and wetland creation or enhancements.

More information including eligibility area maps and local office contact information is available on the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service website at www.mi.nrcs.usda.gov.