The Natural Resources Conservation Service is now accepting applications for Kansas Forest Service’s “Water Quality Improvement through the Implementation of Forestry Practices” initiative. A five-year partnership agreement between NRCS and the Kansas Forest Service provides free technical assistance, in addition to $8.1 million in financial assistance to landowners who implement conservation practices, such as planting trees to control erosion and improve water quality.
With additional financial assistance from Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy groups, a landowner would only need to cover 10 percent of the total conservation project cost.
“This project provides a great opportunity where conservation stewardship can add value to the property at a reasonable cost,” said Eric Banks, NRCS Kansas state conservationist.
Assistance is available for landowners in targeted watersheds. Many Kansas streams in the eastern one-third of Kansas lack adequate tree cover to stabilize streambanks.
According to the Kansas Water Office, federal reservoirs in Kansas serve as the source of municipal and industrial water for more than two-thirds of the state’s population. Runoff and erosion contribute to sedimentation of these reservoirs. Trees help stabilize river banks, keep debris off of fields, and ultimately improve water quality by reducing sediment entry into streams. This program also funds the improvement of the quality and productivity of woodlands and forests, which are vital to overall watershed health.
This type of partnership agreement is a new feature included in the 2014 Farm Bill. Called the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, it encourages partners to join in efforts with producers to increase the restoration and sustainable use of soil, water, wildlife, and related natural resources on regional or watershed scales. The program lets partners (such as the Kansas Forest Service) stretch their resources and share expertise to help producers install and maintain conservation activities in selected project areas.
Applications will be taken until funding is exhausted, and the project will be funded on a first come, first served basis as long as the resource concern meets the NRCS and Kansas Forest Service conservation criteria.
For more information on eligibility requirements and how to apply, call or visit your local NRCS office located in USDA Service Centers. Locations and contact information are available online at www.ks.nrcs.usda.gov by clicking on “Find a Service Center” under “Kansas Links.” Eligible areas and more information can be found on the Kansas Forest Service website: www.kansasforests.org/streamside_forestry/rcpp.html, or by calling or emailing Bob Atchison, rural forestry coordinator with the Kansas Forest Service, 785-532-3310 or [email protected].
About the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
“Black Sunday” on April 14, 1935, is known as the worst dust storm in American history. After moving across Kansas, the dust cloud reached Washington, D.C. on the next day, with the sky so dark, lights had to be turned on at noon. Congress took action. President Roosevelt signed the bill creating the Soil Conservation Services on April 27, 1935. Now called the Natural Resources Conservation Service, we have a deeply held vision of a nation where use of resources is guided by a widely shared and heartfelt stewardship ethic. Our approach starts with talking one-on-one with landowners to understand their goals and then applying science-based conservation practices to create a plan to fix problems such as soil health, grazing capacity, water and wind erosion, wildlife preservation or wetland management. To help people help the land to sustain their livelihood now and for the future.
About the Kansas Forest Service
The Kansas Forest Service is the nation’s fifth oldest state forestry agency. The agency serves rural landowners, communities, rural fire districts, forest and arboriculture industries, and citizens of the state through its Conservation Tree and Shrub Planting, Fire Management, Community Forestry, Rural Forestry, Marketing and Utilization, and Forest Health programs. The Kansas Forest Service state office is located in Manhattan, Kansas, just off the campus of Kansas State University. The agency is administratively attached to the Department of Horticulture, Forestry and Recreation Resources, College of Agriculture, Kansas State University. The agency receives its direction from a mission statement that reads: “Care of Natural Resources and Service to People through Forestry.”