Keeping the watershed healthy

Keeping the watershed healthy

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A program designed to help keep watersheds in good shape may help local farmers too.

The Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative was started a few years ago by the Natural Resources Conservation Service to help keep things healthy from the creeks that feed the Mississippi River, all the way down to the mouth of the river at the Gulf of Mexico.

Gene Crouch is a farmer just south of Harrisburg who is involved in the project and has built a reservoir to recycle water in the area.

"The table here has been dropping about a foot a year, and everything we can do and the government can do to slow that down by building reservoirs, really does help," Crouch said.  "Whatever water falls on the ground outside this reservoir, we pick it up and reuse it so, we recover a lot more water for a lot less money.  Better to pump twenty-three feet deep than one-hundred-and-eighty with rice wells like we've been doing."

With the new reservoir that has been added in the county it doesn't just help the watershed, but it helps the farmers wallets, as it is healthier for their crops.

"To save the water, it's terribly important.  In using this water you don't get the lime the high P8's, and all of that, this waters, reservoir waters the best," Crouch said.

This project has done a lot in the past few years beyond just helping things here in Arkansas. The main goal is to try to cut back on nutrient loading in waterways, such as the lime and the high P8's, which can cause water quality issues in local waterways and especially at the mouth of the river in the Gulf of Mexico.

The deadline to meet eligibility and to have all applications evaluated by the Natural Resources Conservation Service is February 7th, 2014.  You can find out more about the projects by the group


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