Project Funding Available in Florida to Improve Water Quality and Quantity

Randall Weiseman Florida, USDA-NRCS

Gainesville, FL., July 12, 2010 – Hillsborough County area farmers and ranchers can help conserve water and improve water quality on agricultural working lands through the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP), which leverages additional resources and services from conservation partners. The program is administered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), which enters into agreements with conservation partners to help landowners plan and implement conservation practices in project areas established through the agreements. Florida NRCS has partnered with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services on one project funded in 2010 for $750,000. Producers in the Northern Tampa Bay area of Hillsborough County have until July 23, 2010, to apply for this program at their local NRCS office.

“NRCS is working hard to support efforts to protect and preserve our water resources,” said Carlos Suarez, NRCS state conservationist in Florida. “The funding announced today will help producers in Florida begin or expand plans and projects to improve water quality.”

AWEP partners include federally recognized Indian tribes, states, units of local government, agricultural associations, and non-governmental organizations. Partner proposals were selected using a competitive process that considered several factors including statutorily defined priority areas, emphasis for water conservation activities such as conversion of irrigated land to dryland farming and assistance to farmers and ranchers to meet regulatory requirements. Approved partners enter into multi-year agreements with NRCS to promote ground and surface water conservation or improve water quality on eligible agricultural lands in the project area. Additional information about AWEP is available at

Information about other NRCS conservation programs can be found at