The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Regional Conservation Partnership Program announced Wednesday, January 14th, that the St. Joseph River Watershed SJRW Conservation Partnership project has been awarded $6.8 million to address water resource concerns in the St. Joseph River Basin. This partnership project is a bi-state initiative led by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and over 30 partnering agencies, including the St. Joseph River Basin Commission. The project's main area of focus will be developing innovative solutions to combat increasing groundwater withdrawals and sediment and nutrient loading while providing economically stable alternatives for farmers that also produce multiple conservation benefits.
Partnering agencies will work together to develop education and outreach campaigns, provide financial and technical assistance to farmers, determine critical areas of implementation, as well as coordinate existing monitoring efforts to report current and future project outcomes. While the project funds will not be dispersed until later this year, the St. Joseph River Basin Commission intends to be a significant contributing partner in this project and the Commission is excited to work with other project partners on improving our water resources management.