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MARYVILLE, Mo. — A federal program will provide grant funding for farmers in the Mozingo watershed area who are interested in using new techniques to minimize nutrient runoff into Mozingo Lake.

The $200,000 emergency fund announced through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Resource Conservation Service this week is open to any landowner in the 29-square-mile watershed area around Mozingo Lake.

Interested producers should sign up for the program by May 1 to be eligible for funding.

The $200,000 fund will go towards helping farmers in the area adjust crop applications to different techniques or products that may produce less nutrient-rich runoff into Mozingo Lake, which has been shown in the past to be the cause of cyanobacteria blooms like the ones that have plagued the lake this year. Last week, the city announced that cyanobacteria levels were back within the normal range for virtually the first time in 2020.

Assistant City Manager Ryan Heiland, who has headed up the task force in charge of the Mozingo prong of the city’s three-pronged strategy to mitigate cyanobacteria, said in an email to The Forum on Tuesday that the best management practices addressed by the NRCS funding will include cover crops, no till, seed/grass plantings and grazing practices, though won’t be limited to those strategies.

Earlier this year, the city committed to a three-part cyanobacteria mitigation strategy that included new water treatment infrastructure, new treatment equipment at Mozingo Lake itself and new strategies in the watershed area to help stop cyanobacteria from forming on the lake again in the future.

Heiland had said previously that the response from landowners in the area has been positive and collaborative, and the city has been working with state and federal agencies like the NRCS and the Missouri Soil & Water Conservation District — among many others — to come up with collaborative ways to care for the watershed and the city’s drinking water supply well into the future.

He said Tuesday that the NRCS funding is one of the “beginning stages” of those plans coming to fruition.

Interested producers can find a link to sign up for the NRCS program by clicking here.

For more information on the program, contact George Henshaw at 573-876-9363 or george.henshaw@usda.gov.

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