SUNOL, Calif. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a partnership to conserve and restore the Sierra-Cascade California Headwaters, which provides drinking water for agriculture and 25 million Californians, according to a press release.
The project is part of President Obama’s Resilient Lands and Water initiative, noted the release. USDA, Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service will invest $130 million in the partnership over the next two years.
Also included in the partnership are the Interior Department, the state of California, nonprofits and private landowners, stated the release. Together the partners will invest at least $210 million in the project.
In addition, NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program has $13.7 million available to California producers and ranchers, reported the release. Rural Development’s Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants has about $6 million available to drought-stricken communities.
"As several years of historic drought continue to plague parts of the Western United States, there is a significant opportunity and responsibility across federal, state and private lands to protect and improve the landscapes that generate our most critical water supplies," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in the release. "Healthy forests and meadows play a key role in ensuring water quality, yield and reliability throughout the year. Looking beyond this particular drought, resources announced today will help us add resiliency to natural resource systems to cope with recurring drought and changing climate patterns."
You can find the entire release here.