U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service announced Wednesday the availability of funding to help landowners in conservation efforts in several Southeast Arkansas counties. Producers have until July 18 to apply.

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service announced Wednesday the availability of funding to help landowners in conservation efforts in several Southeast Arkansas counties. Producers have until July 18 to apply.

• $607,225 is available to applicants interested in addressing water quality concerns in 131,522 acres of the Lower Arkansas (Upper) Watershed in portions of Jefferson, Lonoke and Pulaski counties. NRCS, in partnership with the Bayou Meto Water Management District, received funding for the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative (MRBI).

• $618,395 is available for projects in 249,349 acres in Bayou Meto (Middle) Watershed in sections of Arkansas, Lonoke, Prairie and Jefferson counties through the MRBI.

• $632,286 is available for efforts in 238,106 acres of Bayou Meto Watershed in several communities in Arkansas, Jefferson and Lonoke counties through the MRBI. NRCS and Arkansas County Conservation District has received funding for the project.

“We have recognized that targeting money to a specific watershed is more effective than just ‘random acts of conservation’,” Mike Sullivan, NRCS state conservationist, said in a news release. “One of the ways we have done this is through special initiatives within the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). MRBI targets specific watersheds for specific water quality and quantity practices.”

“Nine projects were selected in Arkansas through the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative portion of MRBI. Funding for the nine new projects will total approximately $49.7 million over the next four years,” he said.

“Working together through the Mississippi River Basin Initiative, we are helping private landowners implement complete conservation systems on their land that help them maintain productivity; avoid, control, and trap sediments and nutrients; improve water quality, and enhance wildlife habitat,” Sullivan said.

Applications may be obtained and filed with the Natural Resources Conservation Service at the following:

• Pine Bluff Field Service Center, Federal Building, Room 2603, 100 E. Eighth Ave., Pine Bluff, or by calling 534-3200, ext. 3;

• Lonoke Field Service Center, 1300 N. Center, Suite 8, Lonoke, Ark., 72086; or call (501) 676-5116, ext. 3;

• North Little Rock Field Service Center, Room 203, NBA Building, 4004 McCain Blvd., North Little Rock, AR, 27116-8026; or call (501) 758-2544, ext. 3.

Details: Visit www.ar.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/mrbi.html or contact Reginald L. Jackson, state public affairs specialist, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, at 501-301-3133.