THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
VICE PRESIDENT GORE ANNOUNCES NEW PARTNERSHIP WITH STATE OF OHIO TO HELP FARMERS PROTECT LAND AND WATER QUALITY Washington, DC--Vice President Al Gore today announced a new
partnership with the state of Ohio to help farmers protect their lands while improving water quality. The Lake Erie Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program will protect Lake Erie and 5,000 miles of Ohio streams by reducing soil erosion and runoff pollution in northwest Ohio watersheds.
"Through this voluntary initiative, we are protecting the environment, ensuring safer drinking water for the people of Ohio, and helping farmers be even better stewards of the land," Vice President Gore said. "We are forging new partnerships with Ohio and its farmers to ensure both a healthy environment and a strong, sustainable economy."
Today's agreement is the latest achieved by the Administration under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). CREP is a federal-state program that provides incentives to farmers to remove environmentally sensitive lands from production and improve them by creating streamside buffer zones or taking other steps to control erosion and reduce polluted runoff. Farmers who enter into contracts with the USDA receive annual rental payments, incentive payments for certain activities, and cost-share assistance to establish conservation practices.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for USDA and the State of Ohio to demonstrate continued commitment to conservation stewardship of our natural resources," said Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman.
In addition to reducing runoff of soil sediment, nutrients and pesticides, the establishment of waterway buffers will also help lower water temperatures, increase dissolved oxygen, and provide additional habitat for fish and wildlife.
The USDA estimates that if all 67,000 acres targeted are enrolled the financial obligation will be about $201 million. The federal government has committed $167.5 million to the project while the State of Ohio has committed $33.5 million. Additional information can be found at web site: www.fsa.usda.gov.
Sound from Vice President Gore is available on the White House Press
Office Radio Actuality Line at 202-456-5671.