Senator Stabenow and Governor Whitmer Announce $1,922,131 Investment to Improve Water Quality in the Saginaw Bay Watershed

Friday, October 01, 2021

WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and Governor Gretchen Whitmer today announced a new $1,922,131 investment, which will be matched by private investments, to improve water quality in the Saginaw Bay Watershed. This significant investment is one of 17 projects in Michigan made possible by the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, authored by Stabenow in the Farm Bill.


“Bringing together local leaders to work with farmers on the ground will help improve our rivers, lakes, and streams in the Saginaw Bay Watershed,” said Senator Stabenow. “This new partnership will build on the historic investments in land and water conservation that we have already made across the state, which are strengthening local economies and preserving our Michigan way of life for generations to come.”


“Today’s grant brings together farmers and local leaders to improve water quality and protect precious natural resources in the Saginaw Bay Watershed,” said Governor Whitmer. “I am grateful to Senator Stabenow for her leadership, and I look forward to the impact this partnership will have on our families, farms, and local economies for decades to come. As a state, we will continue making investments to bolster water infrastructure and protect natural resources to ensure that every community has the resources it needs to succeed.”


“Our entire team here at The Nature Conservancy is honored to receive this RCPP grant and excited to work with our grower and project partners in the Saginaw Bay Watershed to get more conservation on the ground,” said Helen Taylor, State Director of The Nature Conservancy Michigan.


The project, led by The Nature Conservancy Michigan, will bring together local partners, including the Michigan Sugar Company, Environmental Tillage Systems and Blue Water Conservation District. These partners will work with farmers to offer them incentives to adopt a strip till system and cover crops in the Saginaw Bay watershed. This will reduce nutrient and sediment loss in nearby waterways.


Stabenow created the Regional Conservation Partnership Program in the bipartisan 2014 Farm Bill to form locally led partnerships between farmers, agriculture stakeholders and conservation groups to preserve land and water, improve hunting and fishing, and protect the Great Lakes. These local projects leverage private and public dollars to address regional conservation issues. In Michigan alone, 17 projects have received over $161 million total in federal funding and partner contributions.


In the 2018 Farm Bill, Senator Stabenow strengthened regional conservation partnerships to provide more resources for partners to expand the reach of conservation projects, while cutting red-tape and increasing flexibility for new participants.