On April 3, 2008, USDA, Michigan Department of Agriculture, the conservation districts in Branch, Jackson, Hillsdale, Lenawee, Monroe and Washtenaw counties, and the non-profit Environmental Defense Fund launched an effort to improve water quality and restore wildlife in southeast Michigan’s Western Lake Erie Basin Watershed.
This effort combines:
- increased funding to conservation districts for farmer outreach and technical assistance;
- advanced level EQIP practices to improve water quality, like precision nutrient management, winter cover crops and continuous notill; and
- CREP practices that filter runoff and provide wildlife habitat, such as streamside buffers and wetland restoration.
Financial assistance to landowners will come primarily from Michigan’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). EDF will help provide conservation districts with increased financial assistance to work with farmers to plan for and implement the practices. The conservation districts also will receive technical training and assistance from the NRCS and Michigan Department of Agriculture.