Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says 41 watersheds in 12 states have been selected to participate in a new initiative to improve water quality and the overall health of the Mississippi River Basin. The selected watersheds taking part in the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative cover over 42 million acres, or more than 5% of the Basin's land area.
The initiative will provide approximately $320 million in USDA financial assistance over the next four years. The priority watersheds are in Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin. The Mississippi River Basin will help producers implement conservation and management practices that prevent, control and trap nutrient runoff from agricultural land.
Secretary Vilsack says the announcement is another step toward working cooperatively with agricultural producers, partner organizations and State and local agencies to improve water quality and the quality of life for the tens of millions of people who live in the Mississippi River Basin. Three requests for project proposals will be announced in the next several weeks.