Ag Commissioner Seeks Water Quality Pilot Projects 12 Feb 13

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson is seeking recommendations for pilot project watershed areas for the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (MAWQCP). The program is designed to accelerate voluntary adoption of agricultural practices that enhance water quality.

This program will be the first of its type in the nation and is the product of a state-federal partnership that includes the MDA, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Commissioner Frederickson says the pilot projects provide local communities the opportunity to lead the state in developing and implementing this unique approach to recognizing the stewardship and cooperation our neighbors demonstrate every day.

“Minnesota farm organizations, soil and water conservation districts, commodity councils, wildlife organizations and other agriculture-related groups can recommend a watershed in their area as ideally suited for a pilot project location,” said Frederickson. “The pilot project watersheds will serve as a guide for the rest of Minnesota in producing a water quality program that will best serve farms and families throughout the state.”

The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program pilot areas will be located in each of the primary agricultural regions of the state: the Northwest, Central/Southwest, and Southeast and be representative of the local diversity of agriculture (predominant land use types, crops, livestock, water quality goals and resource concerns).

Pilot areas could receive significant funding from multiple agencies to enhance water quality in their areas. Projects will be a maximum three-year duration to enable diverse sample conditions in weather, production systems, practice implementation, and other factors including emphasis on replication of successful MAWQCP implementation and operation locally. The pilot areas will be required to produce measurement of key elements needed for a successful program.

The deadline to submit recommendations is March 1, 2013. For more information about the pilot project or to obtain a recommendation form, contact Brad Redlin, Program Manager, at 651-201-6489 or Brad.Redlin@state.mn.us.