In the Gulf of Mexico watershed, farmers manage millions of acres of privately held working lands. Working farms, ranches, and forests provide food, fuel, and fiber for the world, but activities can affect water quality locally and across multi-state watersheds. Implementation of soil and water conservation practices can help reduce runoff and nonpoint source pollution.
NACD has been funded $3 million to administer a competitive subgrant program on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Gulf of Mexico Division. The division protects, maintains, and restores the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico in ways consistent with the economic well-being of the Region. It is committed to voluntary, non-regulatory solutions and actions based on sound scientific and technical information.
The objectives of this program are to:
- Work directly with historically underserved producers on novel or innovative techniques, methods, or approaches that reduce non-point source pollution and increase the sustainability and resiliency of their operations;
- Leverage partnerships to increase knowledge sharing and collaboration within and among historically underserved communities;
- Collect and analyze data to demonstrates the results of funded projects;
- Disseminate results to the community to inform future conservation or management practices and expand adoption of the most cost-effective and sustainable approaches
Projects must include at least one of the following types of activities:
- Water quality initiatives such as nutrient reduction with creative runoff treatment solutions; innovative year-round ground cover to limit erosion; planting field buffers; conservation tillage; managing livestock access to streams; address key manure nutrient management issues (e.g., phosphorus saturation in soil, ammonia emissions, alternative uses for manure nutrients); increase the implementation of nitrogen-use efficiency tools to better manage inorganic nitrogen inputs on cropland.
- Habitat restoration initiatives such as riparian zone improvement; observing environmental windows; restoration or protection of wildlife corridors; partner easements; landowner habitat planting/restoration; other innovative habitat ideas; conservation and restoration of perennially flooded grasslands and forests.
- Sustainable forest management initiatives such as utilizing sustainable forestry practices that protect and maintain water quality and habitat; improving utilization of sustainable forestry practices through training, education, and public outreach; and monitoring effectiveness of sustainable practices