The funding, which aims to improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability, is being made available through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, part of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The initiative allows private companies, local and tribal governments, universities, nonprofits and other non-government partners, along with farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners to design solutions that work best for their region, the department says.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the funding announcement at a signing ceremony in Denver for the Colorado Pressurized Small Hydropower Partnership Project, a 2015-funded project that focuses on water quantity resource concerns in Colorado. The project, which will receive $1.8 million in NRCS support alongside local partner investments, will facilitate the conversion of flood irrigation systems to more resource-efficient pressurized irrigation systems with integrated hydropower.
A USDA program announced last month aims to help agricultural producers reduce net emissions and enhance carbon sequestration by more than 120 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year — about 2 percent of economy-wide net greenhouse emissions.