The Nez Perce Riparian and Livestock Feeding Area Project (AFO project) began in the year 2001 and was completed in 2006. The Nez Perce Soil and Water Conservation District (District) obtained funds from the Idaho Water Quality Program for Agriculture (WQPA). The WQPA project is administered by the Idaho Soil Conservation Commission (SCC).
The AFO project integrated with the USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Public Law 566 small watershed program to provide financial incentives to landowners for the installation of conservation practices in the Tammany, Bedrock, and Lapwai Creek watersheds of the Clearwater River subbasin. The WQPA funds provided 25% of the costs specific to water quality best management practices (BMPs) for riparian areas and livestock confinement operations in these watersheds. The installation of BMPs in these watersheds will reduce sediment, bacteria and nutrient delivery to the stream.
Figure 1. Excavating a soil pit to determine feasibility of site for livestock waste storage pit.
Figures 2 and 3. Stream Area Prior to Treatment
Figure 4. Livestock Feeding Operation (in center of photo).
The livestock feeding operation was relocated from the stream to a site on top of a ridge.
This project was one of the first WQPA projects emphasizing integration of program funds, in this case PL-566 and WQPA. This funding innovation has the implementation of BMPs valued at $341,647 for only $77,334 in WQPA funds by using $203,555 from the PL-566 program and $60,758 of landowner contributions. The efficient use of state funds in this project, representing 23 percent of the project total, has resulted in treatment of 765 critical acres of agricultural land, 850 feet of riparian area, and feeding areas containing 195 head of cattle. In 2006 the SCC sent a letter to the District stating that “The District’s concept of blending these programs is commendable, and hopefully will serve as a model for other WQPA projects”. Table 1 lists the specific BMPs that were installed for this project.
Figure 5. Trough. Example of trough installed to provide livestock water away from stream. Stream was fenced to exclude livestock.