A new landmark investment to improve water quality in Minnesota is being lauded by legislators and water quality advocates across the state. The $350 million federal funding was announced by Governor Dayton this week.
The federal funding will be used to protect and improve waters in 60,000 acres across 54 Minnesota counties. The new state-federal effort, called the Minnesota Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CRED), will target areas of southern and western Minnesota facing significant water quality challenges. Currently in the state, of the lakes and rivers that have been tested, around 40 percent have been found to be contaminated.
Through the Minnesota CREP, farmers and agriculture landowners can voluntarily enroll land in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and Reinvest in Minnesota (RIM) Reserve easement program to create buffers, restore wetlands, and protect wellheads for drinking water. Farmers and other landowners who voluntarily participate in the program will be eligible for $350 million in federal funds for direct payments to farmers.
The federal funding is being called a landmark agreement – and comes at a critical time when Minnesota’s water quality is under the microscope. Governor Dayton has declared a “Year of Water Action,” urging all Minnesotans to rethink water usage in daily life, make informed consumer choices and talk to others about clean water protection and preservation.