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Limestone-Graveyard Creeks Watershed improvement begins


The first contract in the Limestone-Graveyard Creeks Watershed Project using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 dollars was recently signed by John Knapp, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Area Conservationist, La Junta, Colo. The project area is in Bent and Prowers counties.

Earlier this year Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack announced over $3.6 million in assistance to improve water quality, increase water supply, decrease soil erosion, and improve fish and wildlife habitat in rural communities of Colorado as a result of President Obama's ARRA of 2009. A total of five Colorado watershed projects were approved for funding, including the Limestone-Graveyard Creeks Watershed Project in the Las Animas and Lamar areas which will receive approximately $150,000.

The project area encompasses approximately 60,000 acres in the two counties. The conservation practices installed will help improve water quality, improve irrigation system efficiencies, and reduce irrigation-induced erosion.

"We are very pleased that the Limestone-Graveyard Creeks Watershed Project was one of the five watersheds in Colorado to receive funding," states Knapp.

NRCS is a federal agency within the Department of Agriculture which manages and administers the technical and financial assistance for these watershed projects.

The funds for these watershed projects go directly to the producers. Money will be spent locally for materials and contractors which will help local Southeastern Colorado community economies.

When the projects are completed the local area will be significantly impacted. Research indicates that watershed improvement measures in this project will result in the reduction of sediment transported into the Arkansas River by approximately 39,000 tons per year. There will also be a significant reduction of nitrates, selenium, and salts leached into surface and groundwater sources within the watersheds.

NRCS partners in the Limestone-Graveyard Creeks Watershed are the Bent and Prowers Conservation Districts as well as the Fort Lyon Canal Company and the Colorado State Conservation Board.

For additional information about the Limestone-Graveyard Creeks Watershed Project, contact Cindy Schleining, Las Animas field office, at 719-456-0120 ext. 3 or Susan Hansen, Lamar field office, at 719-336-9059 ext. 3.

Funding provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is part of the Obama Administration's plans to modernize the nation's infrastructure, jumpstart the economy, and create jobs. For more information on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, visit www.recovery.gov.

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