The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering $61.2 million in financial assistance funding for Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) projects. This funding will help producers conserve surface and groundwater and improve water quality on agricultural land.

AWEP projects are implemented by NRCS entering into partnership agreements with eligible entities. NRCS works with these partners to help landowners plan and implement conservation practices. Of the $61.2 million, approximately $40.4 million will be made available to AWEP partners whose projects were approved during the last fiscal year, and approximately $20.7 million will be available for new project proposals. Funding proposals can be submitted by federally recognized Indian Tribes, states, units of local government, agricultural associations, and other groups of producers – such as irrigation associations, agricultural land trusts, or other nongovernmental organization – that have experience working with agricultural producers.

When an AWEP project area has been approved and announced, individual producers may apply for program benefits through their local NRCS office.

Types of water enhancement activities intended with this request for proposal include:

  • Water quality or water conservation plan development;
  • Water conservation restoration or enhancement projects;
  • Water quality or quantity restoration or enhancement projects;
  • Irrigation system improvement and irrigation efficiency enhancements;
  • Activities designed to mitigate the effects of drought; and
  • Related activities determined to help achieve water quality or water conservation benefits on agricultural land.
Deadline for partner organizations to submit a proposal is 3 p.m. May 17, 2010. The AWEP was established by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, also known as the Farm Bill. To view the full request for proposals, to learn about additional AWEP information, or to apply visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/.