$7.9 million awarded for Kankakee watershed

The Natural Resources Conservation Service in Indiana has announced its awarding $7.9 million for the Kankakee Watershed Initiative.

The initiative, led by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and funded by the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), brings together Indiana, Illinois, and more than 43 partners to improve the overall health of the Kankakee and Iroquois watersheds.

The goal of the initiative is to reduce nutrient runoff and address excess water by implementing ag and forest land conservation practices and voluntary establishing wetland easements. It also aims to incorporate conservation practices that facilitate water storage, build community involvement, and improve water quality.

The initiative’s target is to install 3,000 acres of new conservation cover, two-miles of two-stage ditches, 800 acres of wetland easements, and more than 2,500 conservation practices to achieve nutrient reduction goals.

The project enables the Kankakee River Basin Commission and partners to address the watershed’s conservation challenges. RCPP leverages resources to advance projects that enhance water quality and address climate change and other critical challenges on agricultural and forest land.

Indiana State Conservationist Jerry Raynor says, “Our partners are experts in their fields and understand the challenges in their own backyards. Through RCPP, we can tap into that knowledge, in partnership with producers and USDA, to come up with lasting solutions to the obstacles that farmers and landowners face. We’re looking forward to seeing the results of a public-private partnership at its best.”  

Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch says, “we are proud that this multi-state conservation opportunity is flowing through Indiana. Our farmers have been instrumental for years in achieving nutrient reduction within our water systems and I look forward to the work being done in and around the Midwest through these funds.”

Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler says, “This funding is critical to the Kankakee River water quality and quantity efforts, and our department is honored to be selected for this grant. I would also like to acknowledge the commission and partners who have been so instrumental in securing this funding and working toward increasing conservation efforts.”

Contact your local USDA service center for more information.

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