Dane County Department of Land and Water Resources (LWRD) received a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) – Resource Conservation Service Natural Resources (NRCS) for a five-year project totaling more than $ 1.8 million. The project is a partnership between Dane County, Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD), Yahara WINS, Upper Sugar River Watershed Association and Clean Lakes Alliance to work with agricultural producers in the Yahara and Sugar River watersheds to improve soil health and protecting water quality. .
Dane County received a five-year RCPP grant in 2015 to tackle phosphorus in the Yahara watershed. This second project aims to continue work in the Yahara watershed and extend the project to the Sugar River watershed. Agricultural producers located in these watersheds will be able to apply for financial assistance to install conservation practices. At least 70% of the grant funds must be used for this direct financial support to producers.
“Clean water and healthy soils are a priority for our community and help ensure that our natural resources can be enjoyed for generations to come,” said Joe Parisi, Dane County Director. “It takes a committed partnership and collaboration to compete successfully for this federal grant program and to have the right people working together to make the project a success. We are grateful for the support of NACD, USDA and our partners in making this effort possible. “
Dane County has allocated more than $ 5 million since 2015 to water quality and soil health projects in the Yahara watershed and continues to support future efforts. It is important to continue working to improve the water quality in the Yahara chain of lakes to build on the success of the first RCPP project.
“We are excited to continue our close partnership with Dane County to continue these types of watershed improvement efforts,” said James Tye, Founder and CEO of Clean Lakes Alliance. “Obtaining the RCPP grant is a great victory for our community and will no doubt help accelerate progress towards healthier lakes and cleaner water.
In addition to continuing work in Yahara, this grant will now extend work and funding to agricultural producers in the Sugar River watershed, creating new partnerships and protecting the fishing and recreational waters of the Sugar River.
Bringing together partners to tackle large-scale community issues is an important goal of the grant. The partnership with MMSD and Yahara WINS helps bring additional resources to the project and builds on existing networks for continued success.
“The additional resources available for projects in the watershed under the RCPP grant will be invaluable in helping to advance soil health improvements and reduce runoff,” said Martye Griffin, director of ecosystem services at the RCPP. MMSD and President of Yahara WINS. “It will also allow even more use of the current resources available in the watershed to see more activity in the landscape leading to the results we want: clean water.”
In addition, Dane County received a staffing grant from the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) of approximately $ 150,000 for one year to help administer federal cost-shared funding programs. This award is a continuation of an existing grant, but will be useful as the new RCPP project grows.