Feather River Water and Air Quality Project

The Feather River Water and Air Quality Project began in January of 1998. The project covered 499,000 acres in the Sacramento Valley, with 6,000 being federal and 493,000 being non-federal. Water management is critical in this area, and this project was implemented to improve water and air quality. Agricultural runoff contains nutrients, pesticides, and sediment. However, improved irrigation systems can reduce water usage, runoff and nutrient leaching. A reduction of pesticide application can also contribute to pollution prevention and improve air quality. The main purpose of this project was to reduce pesticide applications which would result in less pesticide residue in surface water and manage surface water runoff by recycling, improved application and improved irrigation systems. To increase application efficiency to reduce runoff, farmers were provided with financial incentives. Farmers were given financial help to improve their irrigation systems and maintain drainage facilities. Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) grants were provided to cost-share expenses of pheromones as an alternative to pesticide use in pest management. A total of $500,000 was distributed to farmers to cost-share expenses.
As a result of the Feather River Water and Air Quality Project, there were significant water savings due to improved irrigation practises. While specific results were not available, the organizers report that chemical application was reduced tremendously which resulted in less pesticide residue in surface water. A positive change in cultural practises was observed which resulted in overall improved water management.

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