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Wisconsin Governor Signs Bipartisan Bill to Expand Water Quality Protection Programs
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 05/09/2023

Wisconsin Expands Water Quality Programs with Bipartisan Bill Governor Evers signs legislation to expand watershed and surface water protection grants in Wisconsin.

The new bill, supported by both Democrats and Republicans, expands the eligibility for watershed protection grants offered by the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and surface water protection grants administered through the Department of Natural Resources.

Previously, at least five agricultural producers in a watershed could apply together for grant money to improve the water quality in that watershed. The new law expands eligibility for farmers operating on adjacent watersheds, and adds farmer-led watershed groups to the list of eligible organizations for the surface water protection grants.

Governor Evers praised farmers and producers for their leadership in water conservation efforts, acknowledging their knowledge of the value of clean water and fruitful land.

The producer-led watershed grant program, created in 2016, has provided nearly $4.5 million to almost 200 groups, according to DATCP. The bill was supported by the state’s agricultural lobbying groups, including pro-factory farming outfits such as the Dairy Business Association and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, as well as conservation groups such as Clean Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association.

The state’s surface water grant program provided more than $6 million to 343 projects in 2021, and the new law will expand eligibility for farmer-led watershed groups. The bipartisan bill aims to improve water quality in Wisconsin’s watersheds, lakes, and rivers, benefiting farmers, residents, and the environment.

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