Importance of Natural Resources

USDA Working With Farmers To Improve Ecosystem Health Of Gulf Coast

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Gulf
of Mexico Initiative or GOMI seeks to improve the quality of water as it drains off land
and before it gets to areas inhabited by wildlife. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service
is helping producers in Texas limit nutrient and pesticide runoff. The GOMI will assist
the local landowners with conservation efforts, whether it be through cross fencing, livestock
water development, through enhancement programs through the WRP, which is the wetlands reserve
program, which we have quite a few of those along this river. We also have the grazing
lands initiative, along with incentives for nutrient management for the cropland. An NRCS
official said at a GOMI press conference that making conservation improvements would affect
downstream water quality. In some areas a lot of what is going on is that we are having
a lot of nutrient and pesticide erosion into those river systems and as a result that impacts
the wildlife and fish habitat. We hope that by implementing the conservation programs
that in a partnership effort, we’re working with landowners that over a period of time
that we will begin to see some positive affects with regard to water quality. Texas rancher
Dallas Ford says GOMI assistance could be a real benefit for landowners looking to make
environmental improvements. Hopefully, that’s what we all want to do, to make sure that
anything that we do definitely is going to make an impact on the betterment of our whole
ecological area. The Texas GOMI initiative will focus on three watersheds that flow into
the San Antonio Bay and then to the Gulf of Mexico. For the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
I’m Bob Ellison.

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