The NRCS has announced that Arkansas will receive $1.2 million in additional cost-share assistance to implement conservation practices through the Point Remove – Mississippi River Basin Initiative Project (MRBI). The project had an original funding amount of $1.025 million.

The Point Remove - MRBI project is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers for addressing water quality concerns in the Lake Conway-Point Remove watershed.

“Our agency is working aggressively to improve the health of the Mississippi River Basin," said Mike Sullivan, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist. "The additional funding will help producers implement a system of conservation practices that will improve water quality, control soil erosion, improve soil quality, and provide wildlife habitat."

The project area lies within portions of Conway, Pope and Yell counties.  The project partners will assist agricultural producers in 15 sub-watersheds of the Lake Conway-Point Remove basin to adopt a systems approach with a variety of core and supporting conservation practices to address natural resource concern of water quality pertaining to nutrient runoff and water management. They will focus on avoiding excess application of nutrients and water on fields; controlling the amount of nutrient and water runoff from fields into the watershed; and trapping nutrients before they leave the field. The project will utilize EQIP funding to assist with practice installation. The partners estimate producer participation at 75 percent.

Approved conservation practices include conservation crop rotation; cover crop; residue management, no-till and strip till; prescribed grazing; nutrient management; waste utilization; and waste transfer. Practices will be implemented on cropland as well as livestock operations. Approximately 40 percent of the approved contracts are obligated to producers with less than 1,500 acres.

The MRBI will help NRCS and its partners expand their capacity to improve water quality throughout the basin. Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) will use a conservation systems approach to manage nitrogen and phosphorous, which will minimize runoff and reduce downstream nutrient loading.

For more information about MRBI, the Point Remove project and a project area map, contact one of the above offices or visit the NRCS Arkansas Web site at: www.ar.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/mrbi.html.