Photo by Tanya Mueller.

$674,000 USDA grant will be used to improve water quality of Lake Memphremagog

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist Vicky Drew said that Vermont received $674,000 in funding for a project targeting water quality in Lake Memphremagog.

The money is part of $720 million in grants that will be used for 84 conservation projects across the country that will help communities improve water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability. These projects make up the second round of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) created by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“The Orleans County Natural Resources Conservation District will lead this effort which aims to install conservation practices to address degraded water quality from agricultural runoff,” explained Drew.

Vermont is also part of a multi-state RCPP project, led by New Hampshire, which received $5.2 million to assist private forestland owners in increasing the quantity and quality of young forest habitats.

“We put out a call for innovative and results-focused projects that will deliver the most conservation impact,” said Drew. “Our partners answered with creative, locally-led approaches to help producers support their ongoing business operations and address natural resource challenges in their communities, here in Vermont, and across the nation.”

Water quality and drought are dominant themes in this year’s RCPP project list with 45 of the 84 projects focusing on water resource concerns.

USDA invested $370 million in 115 high impact RCPP projects during 2015, including one project in Vermont, led by the Vermont Association of Conservation Districts, which aims to educate small farmers in the development of nutrient management plans to help reduce phosphorus and nutrient runoff into Lake Champlain.

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