Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today announced that Saginaw Bay is one of only three watersheds across the country to benefit from a new national preservation and conservation effort, as part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative. The new effort will improve the Bay's water and habitat conditions by helping agricultural landowners and producers to implement critical conservation practices that prevent nutrients and sediment from reaching the Bay's waters.
"The conditions of our lakes and waterways is not only important in terms of keeping Michigan beautiful, but it's important in preserving jobs related to boating, recreation, fishing, hunting and tourism" Chairwoman Stabenow said. "This new effort will continue reinforcing efforts already underway to preserve the Saginaw Bay Watershed and will further bolster Michigan's effort to protect the Great Lakes. I'm focused on preserving the longstanding legacy of Michigan's Great Lakes and will continue working to ensure that is a national priority."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, which is overseeing the effort, held a public meeting in Bay City last month to collect local input on how to best utilize the funding to improve the Bay's water quality. The insight provided by local leaders has been turned into actionable items that will now be implemented through this new effort.
The sign-up period for agricultural landowners and producers interested in participating in the program begins today, and will continue through July 22. The Saginaw Bay Watershed spans a 22-county region in Michigan, and rural landowners, agricultural producers and non-industrial private forestland owners in the Saginaw Bay Watershed can apply at their local Natural Resources Conservation Service office.
Additional information on the America's Great Outdoors initiative can be accessed on its website at www.americasgreatoutdoors.gov. For contact information for Natural Resources Conservation Service offices, visit www.mi.nrcs.usda.gov.