AgriPulse: “WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2015 – More than 100 conservation projects for protecting water quality, restoring critical wildlife habitat, and addressing other environmental challenges will get federal matching funds under a groundbreaking program authorized by the new farm bill.
“The 115 projects, which include one aimed at preventing another of the Lake Erie toxic algae blooms that plagued Toledo, Ohio, last summer, will share $370 million in federal money, to be matched with $400 million worth of contributions from outside groups, universities and state and local governments.
“Projects in three sites in Arizona will aim to save water, repair habitat, and increase the ailing flow of the Verde and Colorado Rivers as part of a federal program sparked by the 2014 Farm Bill. (Arizona projects picked for major conservation effort.)
“We’re giving private companies, local communities, and other non-government partners a way to invest in a new era in conservation that ultimately benefits us all,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. Vilsack announced the project awards near Phoenix, where one of the projects is designed to help restore habitat for fish and wildlife along the Verde River, a tributary of the Colorado” (Agri-Pulse).
“This is an entirely new approach to conservation efforts,” said Vilsack. “These partnerships empower communities to set priorities and lead the way on conservation efforts important for their region. They also encourage private sector investment so we can make an impact that’s well beyond what the Federal government could accomplish on its own. We’re giving private companies, local communities, and other non-government partners a way to invest in a new era in conservation that ultimately benefits us all. These efforts keep our land resilient and water clean, and promote economic growth in agriculture, construction, tourism, outdoor recreation, and other industries” (USDA).