Applications requested for National Water Quality Initiative

State Conservationist Gary O’Neill announced the continuation of National Water Quality Initiative in Oklahoma. The NWQI is committed to improving the water quality in selected impaired waterways in Oklahoma. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will manage the initiative by making funds available to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in four watersheds.

“The Water Quality Initiative will further NRCS’ partnership efforts to improve water quality using voluntary actions on private lands,” O’Neill said. “This initiative is a focused approach in areas facing significant natural resource challenges. It bolsters the positive results of landscape conservation initiatives NRCS and its partners already have underway.”

The watersheds selected for Oklahoma include portions of Leflore and Stephens County with their Farms and Ranches located in Hell Creek, Little Beaver, Upper little Beaver and Stage Stand Creek. These watersheds are all on the list of impaired waters in Oklahoma. Sediment, nutrient, and pathogen deposition have contributed to this impairment in the past and this initiative will encourage practices which should reduce agricultural contributions to this impairment. The selected watersheds were identified with help from state agencies, partners, and the NRCS State Technical Committee.

Utilizing funds from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, NRCS will provide financial assistance and technical advice to producers to install conservation practices such as grade stabilization structures, cover crops, filter strips and prescribed grazing in watersheds with impairments where the federal investment can make a difference to improve water quality. “Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers are good stewards of the environment, especially when they have the tools they need to protect or improve fish and wildlife habitat and water quality,” said O’Neil. “We look forward to collaborating with producers in these key watersheds to help them have a positive impact on streams with impaired water quality.”

NRCS accepts applications for financial assistance on a continuous basis throughout the year, however, only those applications must be received by March 16 will be considered for funding at this time. Remember to check with your local NRCS office to see if you are located in a selected

Watershed. NRCS will notify all applicants of the results and begin developing contracts with selected applicants this spring.

For more information about NRCS’ programs, initiatives and services in Oklahoma, visit