USDA to Engage Public for Input on water quantity in the West

A file photo of Utah Department of Agriculture worked with Forestry and State Lands to find and map locations Eurasian watermafoil in Bear Lake.

WASHINGTON – Utah’s water is a hot topic for agriculture producers in Utah. Farmers and ranchers use 85 percent of the state’s water supply and it is an important element in their success.

Kevin Norton the acting NRCS chief will host a virtual, open public listening session for water issues in the West. .

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) wants to hear from water users in our area about their water quantity issues related to existing Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs. Kevin Norton, the acting NRCS chief, will host a virtual, open public listening session Thursday, December 17 at 8 a.m. Mountain Standard time.

If additional input time is necessary, a second session will be held Friday, December 18 at 8:00 a.m. Mountain Standard Time.

We have heard from stakeholders that we need to do more to address water quantity issues in the western U.S.,” said Norton. “This listening session will enable us to hear directly from people at the local level on how to improve our programs and operations.”

Norton also noted that USDA’s roles as Co-Chair of the National Drought Resilience Partnership (NDRP) and in the newly established Water Subcabinet place greater emphasis on the importance of western water quantity issues.

This virtual listening session will allow stakeholders to provide feedback on the following questions:

  • For agricultural producers: What is the most pressing water-related issue that may constrain or currently constrains your operations?
  • For partners and organizations: What are the most pressing water-related needs in the agricultural community you assist?
  • For producers and organizations: What is the most pressing water-related issue that NRCS can address through a technical or financial assistance or through facilitating collaboration?
  • How can NRCS best coordinate with other Federal, State, and Local efforts to address water-related issues?
  • How can State Technical Committees assist in addressing your most pressing water-related issues?
  • What additional issues do you confront that NRCS should have awareness of?

NRCS will gather input regarding the challenges, needed breakthroughs, and priorities through this virtual listening session and through submission of comments either by e-mail or mail delivery. NRCS will then consider this information in its evaluation of existing programs and efforts.

For more information on attending the event and providing feedback, please see instructions in the Federal Register Notice. Feedback may be provided in writing before January 19, 2021.

USDA plans to record the entirety of the public listening session, including any and all segments thereof, whether conducted on December 17, 2020, or any other date, including December 18, 2020.

Water from Hyrum dam is used for farmers and homeowners from Hyrum to Petersboro.

Attendance by any person at any segment of this public listening session will be construed as that person’s consent to the recording of any and all segments of this session and any and all future listening or disclosure of the recording.

If someone does not consent to the recording of the virtual public listening session, they should not attend.

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