$20.7 Million Available for Water Enhancement Projects

Apr 06, 2010, 16:35 ET from USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service

Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals for projects through May 17, 2010

DAVIS, Calif., April 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- California agricultural and conservation groups are invited to apply for $20.7 million available through a nationwide 2010 Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) sign up. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers the water-enhancement program and is accepting proposals from California and across the United States from now until May 17, 2010.

"I want to encourage our conservation, irrigation and tribal partners in California to apply for funding for their critical water projects," said Ed Burton, NRCS State Conservationist in California.  "Last year's 15 California recipients were able to successfully demonstrate how they would use AWEP funding to address water supply, irrigation efficiency, and nutrient management concerns and provide significant benefits to local water resources. Because of their efforts, NRCS was able to secure funding for 556 producers."

Like other aspects of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), AWEP is a Farm Bill-based voluntary conservation initiative that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers. What makes AWEP unique is that water enhancement applications are proposed directly to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from an organization on behalf of a group of agricultural producers who intend to make water improvements activities in a targeted geographic area with special needs for water enhancement. Individuals in approved groups can then secure contracts with NRCS for conservation practices to achieve those water quality and/or water conservation goals.

Higher priority will be given to proposals assisting producers to meet regulatory requirements, achieve the overall objectives in five years or less, and are located in high priority areas. One such priority area specifically mentioned in the Farm Bill is the Sacramento River Basin.  

Written proposals must be submitted to:

Gregory K. Johnson

Director, Financial Assistance Programs Division

Department of Agriculture

Natural Resources Conservation Service

AWEP Proposal

1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Room 5239 South Building

Washington, DC 20250.

Note: Registered or Certified Mail to a Post Office will not be accepted.

Proposals will be accepted between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.  If delivered by courier, please ask the guard at the entrance to the South Building to call (202) 720–1845.  Proposals submitted via fax, e-mail or after the deadline date listed in this notice will not be considered.

Additionally, all California applicants must send an additional copy to:

Lincoln E. Burton

NRCS California State Conservationist

430 G Street, Suite 4164

Davis, CA 95616–4164

To view the AWEP regulation, which provides full details on completing an application for consideration, please visit http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-7515.pdf, or contact your local NRCS office.

SOURCE USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service