WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) plans to invest up to $11 million to assist agricultural producers in water conservation and water quality efforts in Oregon’s Upper Klamath basin over the next five years, according to a press release.

“Landowners, conservation partners and tribes have taken a proactive approach to water resource issues in the basin, and USDA has a great opportunity to support their efforts,” NRCS Chief Jason Weller said. “We have a suite of conservation activities to help private landowners voluntarily take steps to conserve the quantity and improve the quality of water.”

USDA will make available up to $4.5 million this year to help farmers and ranchers plan and install water conserving practices on their operations, the release reported.

The goals of this targeted project in the Klamath Basin are two-fold, continued the release, to help ensure the long-term viability and success of agriculture and to improve the overall availability of water for all users and the environment.

According to the release, NRCS’ five-year investment is part of a larger partnership effort to help address water and natural resource issues in the Klamath Basin, targeted primarily to landowners who wish to participate in The Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement developed by the Klamath Tribes, U.S. Department of the Interior, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and agricultural irrigators in the basin.

Read the full release here.