Farmers in the area can now apply for funding through USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) to install conservation practices that will enhance agricultural productivity while also improving local water quality in priority Clinch-Powell Watersheds.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has partnered with The Nature Conservancy to help eligible farmers in Tennessee’s Hancock and Claiborne counties, and Virginia’s Lee, Scott, and Russell counties plan and implement agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs).
Now in its second year, the $4.5 million public-private partnership project has already helped more than 45 producers support regional water-quality protection efforts through streambank stabilization, alternative water systems and livestock exclusion practices.
The Clinch and Powell River watersheds are critical natural areas with remarkable biodiversity. In addition to providing drinking water for local communities, the rivers are home to more than 48 vulnerable aquatic species, including 29 rare species of freshwater mussels. These rivers and their surrounding watersheds are also crucial to the region’s economy, supporting agriculture, outdoor recreation, tourism and other important industries.
Production farmers who are in the RCPP Project area and would like more information on how to enroll in the program should contact their local NRCS office: Hancock County: 423-272-0217; Claiborne County: 423-626-3811; Lee County: 276-346-1531; Scott County: 276-386-9241; and Russell County: 276-889-4650.
For more information on the Clinch-Powell RCPP project, visit www.tn.nrcs.usda.gov or www.va.nrcs.usda.gov. To learn about technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted or your local USDA service center.