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Four High-Priority Nevada Watersheds to Benefit from U.S. Department of Agriculture Funds to Improve Water Quality

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making it rain, so-to-speak, in four Nevada watersheds. The Sheckler Reservoir, Stillwater Marsh, Soda Lake-Carson River and South Branch-Carson River—all in Churchill County, Nevada—were named among the 197 high-priority watersheds across the country where the USDA will invest $33 million to help landowners improve water quality. The funds will come from the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI).

Churchill County is an important agricultural producing county in Nevada. The county is home to the many dairy farms, alfalfa farms, cow/calf operations and more. Churchill County has a diverse agricultural community with new and alternative crops such as wine grapes and teff. The largest goat dairy in Nevada is located in the county. According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture there were 672 farms/ranches in Churchill County consisting of 197,232 acres. The average size farm is 294 acres.

With Nevada’s 2020 water demand expected to increase by 39 percent compared to demand in 2000, water quality is an important issue paralleling that of availability and reliability of water supplies. In a part of the nation where water resources are already scarce, water pollution presents a formidable challenge. The funds from the National Water Quality Initiative is an important piece to the Nevada water supply puzzle. For more information, see

(Wesley A. Miliband, Eric R. Skanchy)