(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) applauded the announcement made by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that Washington state farmers would receive nearly $2 million for projects to improve water quality and quantity through the Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP). Senators Murray and Cantwell worked to establish AWEP in the 2008 Farm Bill and to make the Puget Sound region a priority of the program.

“Washington state’s farmers and ranchers are critical to our state’s economy and I’m glad to see this investment in improving the water they use,” Senator Murray said. “These investments will help farmers increase production and continue creating jobs in rural communities across the state. 

“I am pleased to see the nearly two million dollars in funding be made available today to assist Washington farmers and ranchers in improving water quality and quantity,” Senator Cantwell said. “Senator Patty Murray and I worked to establish this program in the 2008 Farm Bill, and to ensure that the Puget Sound region was given consideration as a priority area. These Agricultural Water Enhancement Program grants will improve water quality, ensure more reliable water through conservation and infrastructure improvements, and improve farm production while protecting salmon and other wildlife.”

The program is administered by United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) and funds will be directed to producers to perform conservation efforts designed to improve water quantity and quality. See the list of Washington state projects below:

North Yakima Conservation District – $1,320,402

The North Yakima Conservation District will receive $1,320,402 for the Purdin Ditch Piping – Water Conservation and Water Quality Project. This project seeks to address high priority water conservation, water quality, and fish and wildlife resource concerns.

Washington Water Project of Trout Unlimited – $250,000

The Washington Water Project of Trout Unlimited will receive $250,000 for the Upper Columbia Methow Tributary Enhancement Project. This project will help fund irrigation efficiency improvements for irrigators who wish to upgrade their handline systems to pivots.

Department of Ecology – $221,500

The Washington State Department of Ecology will receive $221,500 for the Hangman Creek Collaboration: A Comprehensive Watershed Restoration Initiative. This project proposes to offer participants approved conservation practices that will deliver the water quality protections needed to restore the Hangman Creek Watershed.

Kittitas County Conservation District – $148,500

The Kittitas County Conservation District will receive $148,500 for Manastash Creek: Restoration for Water Quantity, Streamflow and Fish Passage. This project will install conservation practices that will increase efficiency of irrigation delivery and on-farm irrigation.