Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program AWQCP Agreement Signed

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the state of Minnesota to develop a new state program for farmers designed to increase the voluntary adoption of conservation practices designed to protect local rivers, streams and other waters by reducing fertilizer run-off and soil erosion. USDA and EPA will offer support to Minnesota in developing “certainty agreements” for water quality improvements on private agricultural lands and eligible tribal lands in high priority watersheds.

The MOU signing is the first step toward developing the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program (AWQCP), designed to increase the adoption of recommended conservation practices to improve water quality on agricultural land. The MOU signing formalizes the state-federal partnership and confirms a joint commitment to developing and implementing the program. Minnesota and its partners will establish a Technical Advisory Committee to develop the certification program that will support the state’s water quality standards and goals. The committee will solicit input from stakeholders in designing criteria to provide certainty for producers who have voluntarily attained or maintained a certain level of water quality improvements on their agricultural land. Minnesota will test the program in several pilot watersheds.

Caltha LLP provides expert consulting services to public and private sector clients nationwide to address water quality standards, wastewater permitting and assessing potential impacts of chemicals in the aquatic environment.

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