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In 1998 the Upper Big Walnut Creek Water Quality Partnership and local work group requested conservation practice funding through the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) to help protect water quality resources in the 121,600 acre Upper Big Walnut Creek watershed. This watershed drains into the Hoover Reservoir that serves as a water supply reservoir for over 500,000 people, mainly in the city of Columbus, Ohio.

Monthly water quality sampling of Hoover Reservoir begun in 1984 revealed seasonal levels of the agricultural herbicide atrazine was detected. Monitoring data for sediments and nutrients are not identified as water quality concerns in the reservoir for the Columbus Division of Water. Treatment technology was installed at the downstream drinking water facility. In order to help attain long-term water quality objectives, the community organized a watershed protection initiative to help improve water quality.

The Upper Big Walnut Creek Partnership was organized in the spring of 1997 to initiate and manage a water quality improvement project for the watershed. The Delaware and Morrow Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD), the City of Columbus, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and agribusiness were instrumental in the initial start and success of this project. The State of Ohio provided 100,000 for project planning and implementation. County Conservation Districts in conjunction with the NRCS's conservationists provided technical resources to develop and implement conservation management plans. The City of Columbus provided monthly reservoir and stream monitoring and water sample analysis data for the project.

Agricultural cropland acreage in the watershed is targeted for resource conservation management plans. The Local Conservation Work Group established specific conservation practice goals for a five-year program of technical, financial and educational assistance. USDA provided technical, financial and educational assistance of more than 500,000 through the EQIP program. Farmers have been very receptive to the program
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-01-01

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