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Grants available for Tennessee counties' farmers

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Grant money is available for farmers in two Tennessee counties that ultimately will improve water quality.
Grant money is available for farmers in two Tennessee counties that ultimately will improve water quality.

Farmers in two counties in Northeast Tennessee can pursue in excess of $900,000 worth of funding to minimize grazing, which will in turn will enhance water quality, according to a published report.

The National Resource Conservation Service, a unit of the U.S. Agriculture Department, and the FishAmerica Foundation have availed $928,504 in grants to farmers in Scott and Russell counties. Those counties are of the Copper Creek Water Shed, a 132-acre parcel of land.

The NRCS is overseeing the effort to emphasize two key aspects that will improve the health of streams: rotational grazing systems and stream exclusion. The intended end results for each is stronger habitats for aquatic species and wildlife.

Rotational grazing improves the farmland by reducing the harmful impacts that overgrazing can cause. In turn, that ultimately will have influence over the quality of water.

As a tributary of the Clinch River, Copper Creek hosts threatened and endangered aquatic species and wildlife. This year’s efforts represent the latest in the Agriculture Department’s $2 million allocation during the past three years for conservation projects in the region.

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