On Monday the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $235 million in funding available from the newly created Regional Conservation Partnership Program. The RCPP was created by the 2014 Farm Bill with the goal of increasing conservation projects undertaken by farmers across the United States. Farmers and conservationists in the Great Lakes region can apply for funding under all three possible categories: national, state, or critical conservation area. In 2014, the Great Lakes watershed was named one of eight Critical Conservation Areas—the focus in our region is on projects that will reduce nutrient runoff to prevent toxic algal blooms.
Pre-proposals are due July 8, 2015. You can find more information about applying at the RCPP website, here.
In announcing the program today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack highlighted the progress being made in the Great Lakes region:
“Another project, “The Tri-State Western Lake Erie Basin Phosphorous Reduction Initiative” brings together more than 40 partnering organizations from Michigan, Ohio and Indiana to reduce the runoff of phosphorous to waterways in the western basin of Lake Erie. The lake has suffered from nutrient pollution for years, including last year’s water crisis that left 400,000 residents in the Toledo, Ohio area without water to drink, bathe or cook. From providing clean drinking water to employing thousands of people in the tourism industry, the health of Lake Erie affects nearly every aspect of life in the region. This project will target funding to the streams and rivers that have the largest impact on water quality in the lake.”
Read the full press release here.