On Monday, the Department of Agriculture announced new investments and strategies to help farmers and ranchers conserve water, address climate change and build drought resilience in the West. The effort is through the Western Water and Working Lands Framework for Conservation Action to address key water and land management challenges across 17 Western States. The framework includes guidelines for identifying vulnerable agricultural landscapes and 13 strategies to help NRCS state leaders, water resource managers, and producers respond to priority challenges.
Northwest projects that that will receive additional federal dollars include:
- Quincy Columbia Basin Irrigation District West Canal, which will receive $1.8 million
- Kittitas Reclamation District and Whitestone Reclamation District which will split nearly $2.1 million
- Four projects in Idaho that will receive $4.2 million
Guided by this new framework, the WaterSMART Initiative will invest $25 million in three new priority areas and 37 existing priority areas, assisting communities and producers in the West.
“USDA is utilizing this framework and all available tools to deliver assistance that the severity of the water supply challenges in the West demand,” said NRCS Chief Terry Cosby.
From 2020 to 2022, more than $410 million of annual conservation assistance NRCS provided to producers helped address drought in the West. For a list of all funded projects across the West, visit NRCS’ Website.
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