USDA-private projects affect Mississippi and Louisiana

By AP – Sun Herald
January 17, 2015

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this projects selected for a new conservation initiative encouraging partnerships between government and nonprofit organizations. Here are those involving and affecting Louisiana and Mississippi.

Some Regional Conservation Partnership Program projects are national, others regional and others for single states.

The program sets out eight critical conservation areas covering many states. Louisiana and Mississippi all are in the Longleaf Pine Range, where the overall goal is to increase longleaf pine acreage from 3.4 million to 8 million acres by 2025.

Louisiana and Mississippi also are among 13 states in an area designated as the Mississippi River Basin. The overall goal for that region is to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment getting into the river from private lands, improving water quality across the area and reducing the annual Gulf of Mexico dead zone.


Rice Stewardship Program in Southwest Louisiana Amount from USDA: $1.5 million Lead partner: Ducks Unlimited Ducks Unlimited and other partners will help at least 150 rice farmers plan, design and install conservation measures on up to 28,000 acres to improve water quality and winter wetland habit for waterfowl and other wildlife.

Targeted Conservation Delivery to Improve Soil Health, Water Quantity and Quality Amount from USDA: $100,000 Lead partner: Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s Office of Soil and Water Conservation Louisiana’s agriculture department and its partners will check land in five watersheds around the state to identify soil and water management problems that could hurt soil health and water quality, and help landowners and managers find ways to fix them.


Migratory Bird Habitat Creation in the Lower Mississippi River Valley Amount from USDA: $900,000 Lead partner: Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Foundation Projects will create wetland habitats and help landowners understand the benefits of wetlands and winter water on working farms and wetland easements. USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives and Agricultural Conservation Easement program will help farmers provide high-quality feeding and resting habitats to birds migrating south.

Wetland Habitat Restoration for Wildlife and Water Resources Amount from USDA: $1 million Lead partner: Delta Wildlife, Inc. This will improve wetland habitats in an area where many wetlands have been turned to farmland.